Accident prompts new speed limit, heavy enforcement

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The city of Rock Island has approved a speed reduction from 30 mph to 20 along 7th Avenue between 34th and 38th streets.

Augustana spokesperson Sam Schlouch said that he expects more police enforcement in the area as a result. The goal of the police department would be to encourage drivers who are used to traveling in that area at a higher rate of speed to slow down and obey the new speed limit.

Orange flags now draw drivers’ attention to the new speed-limit signs. The decision came just months after two students were struck and seriously injured on Thursday, Jan. 18 just after 5:30 p.m.

(Read more about that accident here)

First-year students Ericka Contrera and Tyler Joy both survived the crash, but the accident prompted the college and the city to partner to try and make the area more safe for the heavy pedestrian traffic it experiences daily.

According to Schlouch, the college is also considering plans to add reflective paint and more signage and improved lighting near the six pedestrian crosswalks to encourage both pedestrians and drivers to be more cautious.

The request for the council to consider changing the speed in the area came from Kai Swanson, special assistant to President Bahls at Augustana College.

“Augustana College President Steve Bahls and Chief of the Augustana Police Department Tom Phillis believe that lowering the speed limit in this manner will result in greater traffic and pedestrian safety in the City of Rock Island, and therefore urge positive consideration,” Swanson’s letter said.

Schlouch said he hopes students remember to “look both ways” and that drivers respect the law and drive cautiously.

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