Following the approval of a measure to place radar-warning traffic signs at Galesburg schools Monday at the City Council meeting, Knox students and Galesburg community members shared ideas about improving safety on South Street.
City officials have already commissioned a plan to improve pedestrian safety on South Street that will draw input from the Galesburg officials and the school. Students may have already noticed city efforts to improve the crosswalks and street markings on South Street.
Improving pedestrian safety around the campus should be a primary concern of the city, according to junior Elena Johnson.
“Although the issue of drunk driving is certainly an important one that is worthy of due attention, my concern is with the lack of traffic safety measures on South Street, since I see this as a more longstanding issue of progressing alarm,” Johnson said.
Considering the frequency with which students cross South Street, Johnson stressed the importance of safety measures.
“You would be hard pressed to find a Knox student who has not had a close encounter with a vehicle driving on South Street, or at least felt apprehension crossing that street,” Johnson said.
That there have been traffic incidents on the street for the past three years, with the most recent resulting in the death of Sekinat “Tundun” Olamitundun Lawani ’14, is a point of concern for Johnson.
“Why are the mere conveniences of drivers prioritized above our very lives?” Johnson said.
Johnson also listed some solutions aimed at increasing pedestrian safety. She recommended stop signs on the corners of South, West and Cherry, a clear speed limit signage, a potential decrease of the speed limit in areas with heavy foot traffic and stronger speed enforcement.
In terms of improving ties between Galesburg and the Knox community, Johnson said that many students come from Galesburg, and even more would stay with the opening of jobs in town that students could fill after graduation.
Galesburg resident Margaret Hall suggested rumble strips be placed before crosswalks, as speedbumps inhibit the ability for snowplows to clear the road during the winter months.
Senior Alex Uzarowicz gave an update on the progress of the petition, which he has been circulating around the community. According to Uzarowiz, the efforts have been met with support from the Galesburg community and the petition currently has over a thousand signatures.
“This is not a Knox issue; this is a Galesburg issue,” Uzarowicz said.
Mayor Sal Garza thanked students for their input, while assuring them steps were being taken to satisfy community concerns.
Johnson stressed the impact of Lawani’s passing.
“To say that this tragedy has devastated our sorority chapter, the Knox community, her many friends and especially her family would be an understatement,” she said.