VCU is looking to increase pedestrian safety on its two main campuses and a new study makes several suggestions. The improvements can only be carried out by the city, which owns the roads, sidewalks, and traffic lights on VCU’s campuses.
VCU hired engineering consultants at Kimley-Horn to produce the study after the death of a student who was struck by a vehicle near Monroe Park. Another student was killed by a car in May while the study was ongoing.
The study team conducted field observations on VCU’s Monroe Park and Academic Medical Center campuses and divided findings into five sections.
Visibility and Sight Distance
According to the study, there are at least 24 locations on VCU campuses where visibility is impaired by vegetation, parked vehicles, or traffic signal infrastructure. The majority of those impairments were caused by parked vehicles, which could be solved by removing or relocating on-street parking, loading areas, or bus stops.
Pedestrian Crossings and Behavior
The study points out that crossings should be designed with pedestrians in mind — meaning they exist, are marked clearly, and have signal timings favoring pedestrians. The Dept. of Public Works is in the process of retiming traffic signals citywide now.
Signage and Road Markings
Changes in this section would include enhancing existing signs and markings that are currently difficult to see or have been deemed inadequate. The study identified 20 opportunities in this area.
The study points out infrastructure improvements that could be made to reduce speeding and failures to yield. VCU recently installed 10 speed tables on the Monroe Park campus to slow down motorists on Main, Cary, Grace, and Franklin.
Additional Infrastructure Concerns
The review produced 31 other locations that require accessibility improvements, including places needing better curb ramp and sidewalk infrastructure.
In its conclusion and appendix sections, the study team names several possible countermeasures and gives examples of improvements made at other universities. Let us know your thoughts on making Richmond safer for pedestrians.