Editorial: Improve Lincoln Way safety


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

Traffic passes on Lincoln Way on the night of Aug 25. 

Editorial Board

Ames is divided. It’s not divided in some figurative, thought-provoking way, but literally divided by Lincoln Way. The north side is home to Central Campus: the ultimate student destination.

For those lucky enough to reside in one of the dorms or apartments on the north side of Lincoln Way, this divide is not much of a concern aside from the occasional trips to the south side. Three dorms, soon to be four once Buchanan II is completed, along with numerous apartment complexes and businesses, reside on this side of the busy street.

No matter where you fall on the map, crossing Lincoln Way at some point during your ISU adventure is almost inevitable.

And this is where the divide becomes an issue.

The ISU family lost one of its own to a hit-and-run accident on the corner of Lincoln Way and Ash Avenue on Dec. 14. Police are still investigating the accident, but one thing is for sure, something has to be done to ensure the safety of the mass amount of students who cross Lincoln Way on a daily basis.

In a recent sit-down with Daily editors, ISU President Steven Leath touched on the tragedy and the plans to reduce risk on Lincoln Way.

“We all knew it was possible, but no one expects it or anticipates it, so when it happened, it did cause us to think, ‘Have we done everything we can?’” Leath said. He also shared that they are doing some initial “short-term things” to help lower the risk factor after the event. We applaud his initial jump-to-it attitude on the issue, but more needs to be done, and we believe success lies in little adjustments.

One suggestion Leath made was a pedestrian bridge that would span across Lincoln Way, minimizing students’ direct contact with the busy street. However, we agree with Leath in wondering whether anybody would use it. Students want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, and climbing a flight of stairs just to go down the other side a few feet later is not the simplest way.

We feel the best way to step in the right direction would be to improve lighting. One concern that was raised from the loss of Emmalee Jacobs was the lack of lighting at that intersection, which could have caused the driver to not see her walking.

Lincoln Way is well equipped with pedestrian crosswalk buttons to signal traffic to stop and allow them to cross safely, but not all of the crossings that run into other streets intersecting Lincoln Way are as pedestrian-friendly. More intersections should get more clear crosswalk signals and arrows for certain turns for traffic, such as the intersection of Lincoln Way and Beach Avenue.

These improvements will take time, but in the search to find a simple way for students to cross safely, these may be the simplest and most logical options.