Joint Traffic Study Aims to Make ISU Safer for Pedestrians

AMES, Iowa -- The City of Ames has partnered with Iowa State University to try and make the campus a safer place for pedestrians and motorists, and they’re learning a lot thanks to a new traffic study.

The study focused on Lincoln Ave., the main drag through campus. They found the main issue wasn’t an engineering problem, but a behavioral one. The biggest complaint was that pedestrians didn’t follow traffic signals.  However, the city says by changing long wait times at traffic lights they can encourage busy students to wait for the walk signal.

The city says they are also working with Iowa State Police on a public awareness campaign to address some of the issues that engineering can’t help fix, like walking while looking at your phone.

However, just because pedestrian behavior is an issue, doesn’t mean improvements to the infrastructure aren’t needed. One busy intersection at Stanton Ave. and Lincoln was singled out for not having a traffic light.

One University employee says no light combined with parking spaces on the side of the road makes it a dangerous spot for everyone.

“When cars are parked here, especially here with large trucks, you basically have to go into the intersection before you can see anything that's oncoming” said David Burnette.

Students have also said that building dividers in the middle of the road where they can wait to cross the second half of the street would be a welcome addition.

Phase two of the plan has the green light from the city council. Now the city will use the information they gathered to determine what specific steps need to be taken to improve safety.