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VCU study recommends pedestrian safety upgrades

Construction crews are installing a speed table in the road.
Shaban Athuman
VPM News
Construction crews work on installing a speed table on Thursday, May 11, 2023 at VCU Monroe Campus in Richmond, Virginia.

Some road improvements were put in after two students died. Campus officials say more is needed.

Following the death of student Mahrokh Khan in January caused by a driver near Monroe Park, VCU President Michael Rao requested a pedestrian safety study, according to the university.

That independent study, done by engineering consultants Kimley-Horn, was already underway when Shawn Soares, another student, was killed while walking in May near the park.

According to VCU Police, more than 1 million drivers pass through the Monroe Park Campus throughout the week. Late last week, Kimley-Horn released its list of recommendations to address that.

Before the recommendations came out Friday, VPM News had previously reported that Richmond’s Department of Public Works began work after Soares’ death to install 10 speed tables. Those were designed to slow cars down on four major streets around the campus: West Main, Cary, Grace and Franklin streets between Belvidere and Harrison streets. Another speed table was installed on East Main Street.

School officials say the speed table data they’ve collected since installation shows a 50% reduction in speeding.

To help improve overall safety, a 41-page study was released by the university — but the city of Richmond would be the one to implement many of those solutions. VCU is requesting the city add more speed tables, more no turn on red signs, and to improve crosswalks by adding flashing beacons, curb extensions and eliminate parking at corners.

While some of those infrastructure improvements have been installed and others are in the works, campus officials say additional upgrades will need to be evaluated by the city.

VCU will host a speed management symposium on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Richmond’s Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St.

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.