City helps NIU fund safety project

By Maureen Morrissey

The City of DeKalb is helping NIU fund a $77,000 pedestrian safety project along Normal Road.

The DeKalb City Council voted 6-0 to fund $27,000 of the project, which will pay for sidewalks, street repairs and gutters.

The $77,000 project is the result of a study the city conducted in 1989.

James Harder, vice president of NIU Business Operations, said the project will begin this fall, “as soon as the bus turnaround on the west side of the student center is finished.”

Eddie Williams, NIU Finance and Planning vice president, said the project will include installing short limestone walls from Lucinda to Founder’s Memorial library, street and sidewalk repairs and landscaping.

Ralph Tompkin, a DeKalb engineer, said the 1989 study found the stretch from Lucinda to the Founder’s Memorial Library to be the most hazardous.

Harder said while the current project covers that part of the road, further improvements might take place at a later date.

“The bottom line of the study was that there were too many conflicts between the pedestrian traffic and car traffic and there was a need to try to reduce the hazards,” Tompkin said.

The study reported there were no fatal accidents on Normal Road involving pedestrians, but some accidents resulting in serious injury have occurred in the past.

Tompkin said the study also gave suggestions to improve safety along Normal Road, and some were done last year. Crosswalks and signs were made more visible at that time, he said.

Further improvements were put on hold until NIU could incorporate the project into the King Memorial Commons renovation, said Tompkins.