Galesburg-Knox task force looks into pedestrian safety

Students processed down the length of South Street that runs in front of campus Saturday, Nov. 10 in honor of Tundun Lawani ’14. (Michelle Orr/TKS)

A new group tasked with improving pedestrian safety on South Street is moving forward with talks on measures to slow traffic and improve pedestrian awareness.

At the last Student Life Committee meeting of the term Tuesday, Instructor in Art and former alderman Michael Godsil, who represents Knox College on the new task force, updated the committee on the proceedings from the Nov. 7 City Council meeting. The new group was formed following the tragic death of Tundun Lawani ’14.

One popular suggestion for reform includes installing stop signs. According to Godsil, however, there was a general consensus among the city’s task force members that challenged the impact stop signs would make in deterring speeding.

The current plan for reform calls for three stages of short- and long-term programs, with the first stage focusing on more temporary but pressing safety concerns, while the second and third stages call for permanent tools to decrease speeding. The City of Galesburg has already implemented “first stage” plans by painting or re-painting crosswalk striping at several busy intersections along South Street (at West, Cedar and Cherry streets).

Other ideas concerning pedestrian safety include installing illuminated crosswalks (in which small electronic devices would actually light up the street as someone crossed the road), decreasing the speed limit and ticketing pedestrians for jaywalking. The agenda for phase three involves installing two electronic devices that would display the speed of passing cars, along with the installation of pedestrian-activated traffic lights. Galesburg Mayor Sal Graza hopes to complete the third phase by the end of next calendar year.



Another main component of the Galesburg-Knox initiative is to educate both Galesburg citizens and Knox students of safety rules and regulations. Illinois recently passed a law making it illegal for cars to continue to drive before allowing passersby to completely cross the road. The city plans to work in tandem with the Galesburg Register-Mail and other local media to inform citizens about the new law.

President Teresa Amott is prepared to share the cost of implementing these plans, even though hard numbers for expenses have yet to be calculated. Cost-sharing would put Knox in a more favorable light, she said, since it would deter complaints of unfairness from Galesburg citizens who do not want their tax money to be used for traffic lights that only Knox, a private institution, would mainly use.

Other members of the task force include Amott, junior student Senator Melvin Taylor, Professor of Environmental Studies Peter Schwartzman and Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf.

Also discussed during the SLC meeting were Union Board events and plans for making better use of Seymour Union, which was originally brought up by Dean of Students Debbie Southern last year.

Mydel Santos

Tags:  Galesburg Knox College Melvin Taylor Mike Godsil pedestrian safety Peter Schwartzman South Street Student Life Committee task force Teresa Amott Tundun Lawani

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