Plans move ahead for lighted pedestrian path near KU campus

City meets with students calling for improved lighting

Plans are in the works to build a lighted pedestrian pathway between the Kansas University campus and downtown Lawrence, a city official said Wednesday.

City leaders met with student groups at KU Wednesday to discuss options for improving lighting in the Oread Neighborhood, where more than a dozen late-night robberies and attacks have occurred this year.

Mark Thiel, assistant public works director for the city, said his department would draw up plans and prepare a preliminary cost analysis for restoring sidewalks in the neighborhood and providing better lighting for students walking to and from downtown.

Concepts being discussed include installation of 3-foot-tall pedestrian lights along the edge of sidewalks or adding decorative lighting similar to what is on Massachusetts Street in the downtown area.

In the meantime, Thiel said students would be consulted to determine what paths are most popular for students.

“It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to make a nice … path if students aren’t going to go that way,” Thiel said.

The effort to add lighting and improve safety in the area is being led by Elise Higgins, a KU senior from Topeka, who serves as the Student Senate community affairs director.

Thiel said funding for the project had not been secured.

The brainstorming group, which also includes representatives of the Oread Neighborhood Association and the new Oread hotel development, will meet again in November.