Lower speed limit, more crosswalks in store for Normal Drive

Emily Embry and Heather Redmon help respond after a white female was struck by a silver Ford SUV while crossing Normal Drive across from Southwest Hall. “I was walking right behind her and she was on the phone with her mom,” Redmon said. “Her mom said all that she heard was screams.”

Cameron Koch

Conditions that may have contributed to a student being seriously injured while crossing Normal Drive Tuesday night —poor lighting and a speed limit of 25 mph — may be remedied thanks to a new agreement between WKU and the city of Bowling Green.

The city of Bowling Green ceded the road to WKU at the request of the university on Feb. 19.

Bryan Russell, director of Design, Planning and Construction, said much needed safety improvements to the street, such as more crosswalks, better lighting and a lower speed limit, couldn’t be accomplished while owned by the city.

“Talks have been going about this for several years, it’s just finally come to fruition,” Russell said. “It’s just a natural area that needed to get under WKU management.”

Russell said pedestrian traffic across the street is higher than ever as students cross to attend class at Gary Ransdell Hall.

Another new building, the recently approved Honors College and International Center, will only further increase pedestrian traffic.

Starting this summer, the speed limit on Normal Drive will be reduced to 15 mph. Russell said new lighting will also be put into place over the summer to improve pedestrian safety. Additional improvements, such as more crosswalks, will be added at a later date, Russell said.

It’s beneficial to the city as well, said Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. WKU, not Bowling Green, now must perform maintenance and upkeep of the street, saving the city money, he said.

Cana Herron, the student struck by an oncoming car on Tuesday night while crossing the street, is currently at the Vanderbilt Medical Center where she is in stable condition.

Mandi Johnson, public information officer for WKUPD, said the driver of the vehicle who hit Herron fully cooperated with police and that there was no criminal intent.

Emily Embry, a junior from Graves County, responded to the scene of the accident Tuesday night as she walked to her car. The poor lighting on the street may have contributed to the accident and more street lamps would go a long way in preventing future accidents, she said.

“That’s a really bad spot,” Embry said. “A lot of people, from my understanding, have almost been hit there, I’ve almost been hit there at night. During the day it isn’t a problem, but at night it’s really dark there.”