Murray city leaders consider changes to 16th Street pedestrian, auto traffic

Ensuring your college student is safe on campus is the goal at Murray State University for a heavily traveled area where there are also plenty of student pedestrians. Murray city leaders say meeting a balance between pedestrian and car traffic is key, and something needs to change. 

The area they are concerned about is 16th Street. Although it runs through the university, it is city property. The city started a study on the road and surrounding area to see how to best make changes there. The state allocated $800,000 to Murray for the study, and city leaders narrowed the plans down to three.

The first would separate pedestrian and driving traffic by building a bridge above 16th Street. The second makes 16th Street a pedestrian walkway and creates a bypass around the city for vehicular traffic. The third, similar to the second, would build a broader bypass through a different part of the city.

City leaders and students say it’s a change that’s been a long time coming. The street is flanked by classroom buildings on both sides, and Cody Ramage is one of the students who can’t avoid it. He says it’s a heavily traveled street, and has even seen some close calls and accidents at the crosswalk.

"A lot of people don’t do what mama taught them: look both ways across the street. They just kind of throw caution to the wind." Ramage says.

Mayor Jack Rose says they have three proposals to consider, but students getting hit in the cross walk is his No. 1 concern. He says the only street busier in Murray is 12th Street and, with the growing town and university, it’s a project they can’t put off.

"I just want to see us do something that enhances the safety and enhances the esthetic of the campus," says Rose.

While Ramage agrees, he says he’ll have graduated by the time the project’s completed.

The city wants to make a final decision on how to improve the road by Nov. 1. The city estimates each proposed project would cost $8 million to $12 million.

Click here to fill out a survey from the city about 16th Street.

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