The WVU Student Government Association discussed plans to make major changes to improve pedestrian safety during its first meeting of the fall semester on Wednesday night.
Last semester, the WVU Student Assembly approved a resolution to support pedestrian safety after a string of pedestrian-vehicle accidents. Members of SGA then participated in a safety walk to raise awareness and point out the unsafe pedestrian areas around campus.
Over the summer, SGA continued to work with the state Division of Highways to move forward with the resolution.
Director of Legislative Affairs Tyler Brewster presented a list of priorities that a committee–which was made up of members from the University, city and state– decided upon. These priorities are divided into “buckets.”
Within six months
- Work on concurrent phasing at all intersections.
- Improve visibility for pedestrians and motorists in both day and night.
- Develop avenues for funding sources to fulfill these various goals.
Between six months and two years
- Develop pedestrian scale lighting for traffic control boxes.
- Take inventory of street illumination and figure out who owns each individual power box.
- Add additional crosswalks where legally allowed.
More than two years
- Evaluate grade separated structures and facilities and determine where could be successful.
- Add calming measures around pedestrian crossing areas.
- Add mitigation techniques of traffic on campus. Continue to evaluate closing campus to traffic.
Different avenues of funding are needed in order to move forward with these changes, Brewster said, but receiving grants from the federal government is going to be tough.
“We’re looking for funding sources from the federal government to pay for these big changes we want to make,” Brewster said. “But the reality is, West Virginia doesn’t stand a very good chance at getting a federal grant because we just have a lower rate of pedestrians per capita than New York City or L.A.”
The Student Assembly also voted for a resolution to sponsor a series of mental health events for the student body.
There are four events planned for the upcoming months. August’s event will consist of general education about mental health and will include tips on how to notice warning signs or to seek help. The events from September through November will teach students about mental health and sexuality, mental health and gender, and mental health and race.
Each event will be held in the Vandalia Lounge on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday at the end of each month.