Accident raises concerns about College Avenue safety

Will Doreza

A Lawrence student was struck by a car and injured at the College Avenue crosswalk near the Seeley G. Mudd Library at about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. The student – anonymous by request – suffered from a few broken elbow bones and a knee injury.
The official Lawrence University media statement regarding the accident offered the following: “The cause of this accident is undeniable. The student-pedestrian was crossing College Avenue in a well-marked crosswalk. He had crossed three of four lanes when a vehicle, in violation of state law, failed to yield and struck him.”
Wisconsin state law requires vehicles to yield to pedestrians already in the crosswalk, but does not require them to stop for pedestrians waiting to enter the crosswalk. Because the injured student was already in the crosswalk when hit, the vehicle was in violation of these pedestrian laws.
Pedestrian accidents have always been a concern for the Lawrence community. Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell stated, “Probably more than 10 years ago – the road was different then – there were students that were hit in a very similar fashion.these students were hit in the winter and thrown into snowbanks, suffering minor injuries.”
When asked how to prevent future accidents, Truesdell said, “There are two parts to the equation: One is us being diligent as pedestrians. The second half comes from vehicles being aware that they are on a college campus. We have made this very evident with the [Lawrence University] signs on the medians that tell vehicles that they are on a college campus.”
The LU media statement encouraged pedestrians to use caution when entering crosswalks: “We stress the importance of pedestrian safety with our students and, in light of this accident, we have reminded students to use added caution when entering a crosswalk, and to be sure motorists can see them.”
“There have been many conversations, over time, between the City [of Appleton] and Lawrence,” stated Truesdell, “to look at various potential solutions to this problem. There are some problems with these ideas. but the city and Lawrence together have looked at a variety of solutions.”
The statement added that Lawrence has proposed additional safety features to the city, such as more clearly marked stopping points for vehicles behind the crosswalks, flashing yellow lights, grooved pavement to alert drivers, larger yield signs and general lighting improvements.
Freshman Luke MacMillan commented on the dangers of crossing College Avenue. “I feel like the drivers don’t really pay attention as much as they should,” said MacMillan. “But I also feel that at the same time there are a lot of conscientious drivers in the area. It’s the few inattentive ones that make it hectic at times.