T. Anne Cleary Walkway adds flashing lights to increase safety

New safety features are being added at intersections at the T. Anne Cleary Walkway in an effort to increase safety for pedestrians.


Emily Wangen

Cars drive along Jefferson Street on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

The University of Iowa is aiming to make the T. Anne Cleary Walkway a safer place for the campus community’s pedestrians with new features. 

Flashing light posts will be added at the intersections of the walkway at Jefferson and Market Streets to warn oncoming traffic of any pedestrians that cross the street. 

“We are installing motion-censored bollards,” said Wendy Moorehead, UI Facilities Management strategic-communications manager. “When pedestrians cross through the motion sensor, it will trigger the lights to start flashing to warn approaching vehicles that pedestrians are about to be crossing in the crosswalk.”

The addition of flashing lights is intended to make safety warnings at the intersections more active than passive, said Adele Vanarsdale, UI campus planner at Campus Planning and Development. 

Project manager Brett Seelman said the project contract has already been awarded, and installation has not yet started. The goal is to complete the project by the end of the year. The intersections will remain open to pedestrians and vehicles throughout the course of the project.  

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“Right now, we are in a phase where we are reviewing shop drawings and ordering the equipment,” Seelman said. “Once that arrives, the contractor can mobilize and start to install.”

The project and installation budget amounts to a total of $320,000, Moorehead said. 

Vanarsdale said Campus Planning is aiming to increase safety across the entire campus. Adding new lights at T. Anne Cleary Walkway is just one of the steps the university will take. 

“I think this particular aspect of the project is one component of an overall safety plan that Campus Planning is looking at,” Vanarsdale said. 

The addition of the flashing light posts is an “interim step” to resolving the conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, Vanarsdale said.

“It is very clear for both vehicles and students and pedestrians crossing that there is a conflict there,” Brett said. “This project is sort of the first take at, ‘Could there be measures taken to increase the safety there?’ ”

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Vanarsdale said this project is a step that will provide Campus Planning with feedback on how to further increase safety and be a proactive measure.

“From a Campus Planning standpoint, we are still continuing to look at that situation and will monitor it with this installation,” Varnarsdale said. 

Moorehead said the UI is a pedestrian-friendly campus and that pedestrian and bicycle traffic is strongly encouraged. 

Although no recent incidents inspired the project, Vanarsdale said, the campus community may have witnessed too many pedestrian-vehicle collision close calls at the intersection.

“I am not personally aware of any recent incident that has happened,” Vanarsdale said. “But from an anecdotal standpoint, going across that intersection every day, I see near-misses every day.”