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Normal improves street lights at fatal accident site and expands scope of safety study

The conjunction of College Avenue and Kingsley in Normal, where a pedestrian was struck and killed Monday, carries more than 8,000 vehicles per day according to IDOT counts.
Emily Bollinger
The intersection of College Avenue and Kingsley Street in Normal, where a pedestrian was struck and killed in November 2021, records more than 8,000 vehicles per day, according to IDOT counts.

There are new street lights in Normal where an Illinois State University student was killed when a vehicle struck her in late November 2021 as she walked across the street at College Avenue and Kingsley Street.

Ryan Otto, the town's director of Public Works and Engineering, said the utility company did the work when the Town of Normal asked. The town pays an annual fee to Ameren for street light upkeep.

"A lot of the lighting on that portion of College Avenue was the old sodium high pressure lights. A lot of that light was very yellowish and could produce some shadows," said Otto.

The town also promised a traffic study of that intersection after Danielle Fairchild was killed. The town is still deciding how to study that intersection for safety. Otto said after discussions with the university, the scope of the study will be bigger than originally contemplated.

"We'd like to take a look at a lot of different things. Anywhere we have large volumes of cars and pedestrians, we have the potential for conflict. So, we think it's worth taking a campuswide approach to encompass a lot of different solutions that we otherwise might miss," he said.

Otto said the study could include the Constitution Trail. ISU and the town are still talking about the full scope of the project and Otto said he doesn't have a timeline to do it. He said there's an agreement in principle to share costs with ISU, though details are not firm and both the town and university hope for grant funding.

Otto also said he's not sure how long it will take to do the study, adding that depends on the final scope of the proposal before the town hires an engineering firm to do the work.

ISU owns property on both sides of the street, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is involved because the location of the fatality is close to U.S. Business Route 51. IDOT traffic data show more than 8,000 vehicles per day go through that stretch of College Avenue.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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