Study says Lincoln Way pedestrian safety problems behavior, not design

Maggie Curry

Staff will report to the city council Tuesday on pedestrian use of Lincoln Way near Campustown as part of the first phase of the Lincoln Way Pedestrian Study.

After a student was struck by a bus on Lincoln Way during finals week of Fall 2015, the city and Iowa State University joined together to study the safety and operations of the Lincoln Way corridor, specifically on the segment of roadway between the main campus and the Campustown Business District.

The council will be asked to approve the project moving from phase one, studying, into phase two, developing alternatives for areas performing below desired safety and operational targets.

“It was determined that any safety issues in the corridor are related to pedestrian behavior rather than street design or the physical environment,” the council action form reads.

In fact, the geometrics, sight distance and lighting of the area complies with current design guidelines, and traffic operations in the peak hours are also within acceptable ranges, according to the project consultant’s report. 

Except for Sheldon Avenue, compliance with pedestrian crossing indications is below 50 percent of the persons approaching intersections, according to the report.

The study also found that pedestrians were more likely to walk against the No Walk signal if there was a median in the road.

The volume of pedestrians crossing Lincoln Way at Stanton Avenue was “likely the most surprising finding of the data collection effort” for the group. The report said volume at the uncontrolled/unmarked location is similar to other controlled intersections. The group is likely to look into alternatives to either reduce the crossing or establish a controlled pedestrian crossing if phase two is approved by the council.

Concerns for the number of vehicular and pedestrian collisions on Stanton and Welch Avenues is also under review for potential changes.

Representatives from the city, Iowa State University and SRF guided the project team of planners, engineers, housing administrators, police and fire staff from both the City of Ames and ISU, according to the council action form.

There is also a request for the mayor to spearhead a Letter of Support for the AmesNet Regional High-Speed Internet concept spearheaded by Iowa State University. The proposal will be submitted to the national Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, that awards money for joint university-city projects. 

AmesNet would provide a wireless network platform across ISU, Ames, Nevada, and a portion of Des Moines, according to the council action form. The network is not intended as an internet service provider for individual customers, but to provide a platform for a “living lab” for wireless research related to municipal services.

Potential city-service related research could include projects such as:

  • Communication for traffic adaptive signal corridors
  • Snow and ice control monitoring and planning for routes and conditions
  • Mobile data and communication for public safety
  • Continuous data gathering by CyRide and police
  • Electric service and usage monitoring
  • At-home tele-medicine monitoring and treatment applications.