Archive for Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plans move ahead for lighted pedestrian path near KU campus

City meets with students calling for improved lighting

A proposed plan to construct a lighted pathway through the Oread Neighborhood is in the works. The project would cost a considerable amount of money but would potentially result in a safer walk home for people in the area.

September 30, 2009


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.


sinverguenza 8 years, 7 months ago

I really can't believe people are complaining about money being spent on something that will make the city safer, and perhaps prevent robbery or rape. Seriously.

booze_buds_03 8 years, 7 months ago

Consumer complains about anything and everything in his/her lonely, depressing life.

After awhile you learn to skip over posts from a few regular posters.

workinghard 8 years, 7 months ago

Didn't KU have at one time a program called safe ride, or something like that, for the students to use at night?

knayte 8 years, 7 months ago

Why use Safe Ride when you can walk the 3 or 4 blocks home from the bars.

cowboy 8 years, 7 months ago

The lighting in all of central lawrence is really poor. Take Kentucky and Tennesee for example , it's hard to see the pedestrians at night on those streets and I think we've had a couple pedestrians nailed each year for the past few years there also. No need to get cute about it just put up some more street lights thru out the area.

How about some increased patrols also , our kids should not be prey for the local losers.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

I'm with Cowboy on this.

Too bad we need lights eh.

Hey student senate presidents: Think "additional" Preventive Measures How about a mandatory 3 hour credit course in Street Karate for all female KU students and staff courtesy of KU = no charge to students and staff. Let's get serious about self defense.

G_E 8 years, 7 months ago

Fantastic news.

The lack of street lights in this town - especially in the older areas - is rather appalling.

sbell10 8 years, 7 months ago

I rarely post comments on this web site, but some of the comments made against creating a light path are totally out of touch with the realities of Lawrence nightlife.

Anyone who opposes creating more visibility for the dark walks home has obviously never been a college student, and is most certainly not female.

To argue that drunk college students create problems and don't deserve extra protection from the city is completely unreasonable. College students fuel this city's economy. I want to see the kind of work that the city can produce without income from the University and its students.

Safe Ride, although made with good intentions, is completely overwhelmed by the number of students demanding its services. Sometimes the wait for a Safe Ride is almost an hour.

The student group isn't asking for more cars and physical commitments (drivers), it's asking for VISIBILITY. Let the students manage themselves while walking home in a well-lit area. This plan is even more hands-off than an extra grant for Safe Ride.

Walking home at night as a student really isn't that safe. Walking home at night as a female shouldn't even be an option, but consumer1 obviously prefers that inebriated students drive, instead.

persevering_gal 8 years, 7 months ago

Workinghard -

KU still has the Safe Ride program, but what I have heard from many college students is that it takes forever to get a ride and many college students still tend to drink and drive to get home more quickly. Sad, but true.

I think this is a great idea to add more lighting. I find it kind of ridiculous that there isn't more lighting on some of the streets near campus such as Ohio St.

Darkness + drunk people + criminals = a not so positive outcome.

gsxr600 8 years, 7 months ago

If the light is 3ft tall, it will be kicked over and destroyed. If the light is say, 10ft tall, I don't think anyone will be destroying that. They might just climb on it after a national championship.

Cost saving suggestion: use LED super whites. They're very bright and last a substantially longer time.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 7 months ago

As others have said:

Additional lighting is a good idea.

Lighting on a 3 foot pedestal just sounds horrible to me in terms of durability. Maybe they are indestructible, but I would have to see it to believe it.

workinghard 8 years, 7 months ago

Hopefully I didn't give the impression that I was against extra lighting, but do think it should be used in addition to other preventive measures. Why are girls walking alone at night? Go out with friends and leave together even if it means going home earlier than you want. I know some people have to work late and don't have a choice. Too bad their employers don't feel some sort of responsibility to help them get home safe. I know I'll catch it for that one, but it's just my opinion, not saying that it is what should be done. As for delivery drivers, no one answer for that one except they should get paid more. Do they get workman's comp if they get mugged?

workinghard 8 years, 7 months ago

Maybe if the judicial system in Lawrence would be tougher on crimes of a violent nature it would help. Quit handing out slaps on the wrist.

notyourmom 8 years, 7 months ago

It seems like bussing in this town is a real problem all around.

As for lighting up city streets, I'm all for it. But I agree that lights 3 feet tall will just beg to be broken or vandalized. Plus, I dont see how that really helps the safety of walkers as it may have more of a blinding affect than a lighting affect. How about city lights up high, like all the other city lights? That way walkers can be aware of their surroundings, instead of just their feet.

KU_cynic 8 years, 7 months ago

This is a good idea.

But here's my challenge: What shall we call this lighted lane?

Retching Road? Drunk Stumble Parkway?

Surely others can do better than I!

kuhawk22 8 years, 7 months ago

The lights have to be 3 feet tall for a few reasons. First of all, the Oread neighborhood is full of old trees and the residents are not willing to cut these trees down. The fact that they are allowing lights to be put in a historic neighborhood is already a victory for the city. I'm sure many residents still won't be happy but at least they understand the need. Also, I know the city has thought about vandalism which is why they are developing lights that will be very difficult to vandalize. There are systems like this all over the country that they can model it after. More or less I think its great this is finally actually being put into action. No one should be scared because its too dark while walking home at night.

Kim Murphree 8 years, 7 months ago

I think the idea of lights is long overdue..and hope to see more lights in more places including my own neighborhood...sure would cut down on the foot traffic late at night. But, I'd also like to see discussion with our younger citizens about the problems with drinking too much and making the quesionable decision to walk down an alley at 2am in the morning...I don't blame them for the attacks--that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the criminals---but I do think we could do more to educate and re-educate our young citizens on how to be less vulnerable---the proposed lighting won't help those who are walking alone late at night--possibly drunk--in dark alleyways.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.