Written By: Lia Armistead
Last semester, junior Lizzie Lohmar was using all the proper precautions to walk across Paterson Street, including crossing at the pedestrian cross walk, when she was suddenly struck by a pick-up truck turning left off of College Street.
The accident was fatal, causing VSU students and faculty to raise concern about pedestrian safety around busy streets such as Oak Street and North Patterson.
In the Spring 2014, SGA suggested many areas in which pedestrian safety needs to be enhanced.
According to SGA Resolution #14-01, Pedestrian Safety, proposed by Nicholas Buford, the areas that most need safety enhancements include North Campus, crossing from the baseball field parking lot to Valdosta Middle School; Baytree Road and North Oak Street intersection; Brookwood Road and North Patterson intersection; Brookwood Road and North Toomb Street; Brookwood Road and Oak Street intersection; Oak and College Street intersection, and North Pattterson and East College Street intersection, where the Lohmar incident occurred.
The proposed resolution recommended a new crosswalk be added to the Oak Street and Georgia Avenue intersection so students that walk to classes from off campus residential houses are able to safely make their way to school.
Also, SGA suggested to the university and to the city of Valdosta to they consider implementing a school speed zone, installing speed bumps near crosswalks, fixing the timing between green lights and pedestrian walking times, and even hire cross guards during peak periods in which many students will be using crosswalks.
VSUPD is suggested to request assistance from city police to increase the presence during these peak times and major traffic hours.
SGA advised education awareness to VSU students and faculty and the surrounding community to be more aware of pedestrians walking around campus.
According to Theresa Boyd, director of communications, VSU has been working for the past year with the city of Valdosta to identify the areas around campus that needs improvement of pedestrian safety.
“The city of Valdosta has reviewed the timing of lights at several pedestrian intersections around campus, including Oak Street, Brookwood, Baytree and Ann Street,” Boyd said. “In addition, the city of Valdosta has adjusted the traffic lights and crosswalk signals as necessary.”
The city has also enhanced the street lights on Brookwood in front of the fine arts building in order for drivers to be aware of the pedestrians using the pedestrian walkway.
According to Boyd, VSU administrators and students will conduct the annual walk around campus to examine lighting and other safety issues on Oct. 29., which takes place at least once a year.