University hosts pedestrian safety workshop

By Karis Morrall

Illinois is one of the worst-rated states for pedestrian safety. In recent years, students have been struck and killed by MTD buses.

These and other factors have prompted the University to host a pedestrian safety workshop.

LAS Junior David Swendson says he’s afraid of hitting someone with his car when he’s driving around the University in the dark.

“If they just put, you know, more streetlights around, it would be more safe. I know that, when I’m driving around at night, I can’t see pedestrians too well.”

The University and area cities are trying to solve problems at intersections and save lives by hosting a pedestrian safety workshop from February 26 through tomorrow at the Levis [Lev-iss] Faculty Center.

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Pattsi Petrie is the Continuing Education coordinator for the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Petree organized much of the event and says it’s important for city architects to keep pedestrians in mind when they plan streets.

“When designers think about a street, they need to think about not just the movement of cars, but also the movement of pedestrians and skateboarders and handicapped people. And that is very concisely what this workshop is focusing on.”

During the three-day event, area city planners unite with experts who then travel to local intersections and investigate what could be done to improve pedestrian safety.

Program speaker and Chief Traffic Engineer for T.Y. Lin Consultants John LaPlante says the University is doing well, but could use some improvement.

“There’s a lot of good things going on the university was in the forefront for providing for disabled pedestrians. But no matter where you are, there are things you can do better.”

LaPlante is mainly concerned with college students riding bicycles on the same sidewalks as pedestrians. He thinks bicyclists belong on the streets, alongside traffic.

The workshop is only one of three events held this week by the University’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning.