As Collegeville mourns the December death of an Ursinus student struck by an SUV on Main Street, Ursinus College has launched an aggressive effort to enhance pedestrian safety along the busy road.
Sophomore Michelle Buck, a Virginia native, was struck by a Nissan Rouge while walking a crosswalk near Sixth Avenue. Since the tragedy, Ursinus has installed more warning signs for drivers and pedestrians, lowered the speed limit, and distributed adhesive reflectors for students to attach to their clothing or book bags.
College president Brock Blomberg emailed a letter to the school community promising more improvements, including installation of brighter LED streetlights and extension of the curb at the crosswalks to restrict traffic. He also asked that pedestrians encourage each other to be "vigilant and cautious" when crossing the street.
Ursinus sophomore Rachel King still isn't satisfied. "We are all upset about our safety. We've been saying this stuff for years." King also expressed frustration with state regulations slowing down efforts to improve safety. Any changes to the road between 5th and 9th avenues must be approved by both the Collegeville Borough and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, as Main Street is state property. "More should be done. The little things are taking a while," King said.
Main Street has long held a dangerous reputation among students.
"There have been a few accidents last semester. Nobody going to college should have to worry about that!" exclaimed King. Junior Rachel Glick, a lab partner with Buck at the time of the accident remarked, "Students always get hit, at least three a semester." She added many students are upset it had to go this far before changes were enacted. "When you hear about death at a school, you think it won't happen. But then it does, and in such a tiny school the impact was profound.