Project paves the way for safer streets

By Josh Albrecht

The first project to improve pedestrian safety on Annie Glidden Road is almost complete.

Temporary stoplights currently are being installed at the intersection of Annie Glidden and Stadium Drive. The $50,000 project began in early September and is expected to conclude within the next three weeks, with the first week of November as the target date, assistant city engineer Joel Maurer said.

The project is the first response by NIU and DeKalb after the Sept. 15, 2000, hit-and-run accident that killed Nicole Murawski and sparked the formation of the Annie Glidden Task Force last October.

Bob Albanese, NIU’s associate vice president of finance and facilities and task force chairman, said the collaborative efforts between NIU and the city have helped to push the project along.

“We’re all in agreement to do something along that route for safety,” Albanese said. “I think it is going to work out great.”

Now that the first step is under way, more improvements will be examined for the future to expand upon the temporary stoplights that are just supposed to be a quick solution.

“It’s temporary, but temporary could be a long time,” Albanese said. “The next item up is the lighting issue and the lighted crosswalks.”

However, the lighting and the lighted crosswalks aren’t expected to happen in the immediate future. Albanese added that in addition to the stoplights, they also are considering the use of left-hand turn lanes at the intersection.

He added that Annie Glidden Road already has experienced more pedestrian traffic with NIU adding the Carrols Cinema parking lot for students. Student Association President Troy Caldwell said he also was concerned about the influx of pedestrian traffic on Annie Glidden and other roads once the Convocation Center is completed.

“We have to look at other target areas around the campus and city of DeKalb,” Caldwell said.

He added that the SA is very much in favor of the Annie Glidden improvements.

“It’s something that needs to be implemented,” Caldwell said. “We have to increase safety in general.”

Other than the temporary stoplights, the task force has presented a number of ideas during the past year that could help pedestrian safety on Annie Glidden.

The much-debated idea of an overpass or underpass still is in consideration, along with the use of barriers that would funnel pedestrians to crosswalks. Also, NIU and the city have looked at the possibility of applying for federal and state funding to help with the safety improvements, which could reach millions of dollars, Albanese said.