WV Department of Transportation Lowers Speed Limit Near Campus

Evan Green, Features Editor

As a part of a larger effort to increase pedestrian safety near Marshall’s campus, West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston has temporarily reduced the speed limit from 35 mph to 25 mph on 3rd and 5th Avenue from 6th Street to 20th Street. Additionally, a new crosswalk has been added on 20th Street to make it easier for university students to reach the Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

These efforts have been in the works since November 2021, when a Marshall student was killed while crossing 3rd Avenue. The changes have been made after discussions were held between Marshall administrative staff, Mayor Steve Williams, as well as the West Virginia Division of Highways. Mayor Williams called for an audit of the roads surrounding the university just after the deaths occurred, the first part of which took place in the Spring of this year and will conclude in September.

“Marshall University President Brad D. Smith and I share the same vision of enhancing safety surrounding Marshall’s Huntington campus in every regard,” Mayor Williams said. “I am pleased to see that the West Virginia Division of Highways has ordered a temporary speed reduction on 3rd and 5th Avenues as it continues to analyze potential long-term solutions in its traffic safety audit. The Huntington and Marshall University police departments will work collectively to enforce this new speed limit in the affected areas, and my administration will take proactive measures to alert the public to this change.” City workers are set to begin efforts this week to adjust speed limit signs in the affected area to help alert the public to the temporary change.

The university also plans on launching an awareness campaign surrounding pedestrian safety starting in Fall 2022. This campaign is aimed at students, faculty, and staff in the hopes that future incidents can be prevented, and Marshall’s campus can become safer for pedestrians moving forward.

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is Marshall’s highest priority and I am encouraged with the news of the speed reduction around campus,” Marshall University President Brad D. Smith said.  “As we wait for the traffic safety audit to be completed, this temporary speed reduction, the new crosswalk on 20th Street and our upcoming educational campaign on campus will add tools for keeping everyone as safe as possible.”

The new crosswalk includes beacon lights that alert motorists when pedestrians are about to cross. The project cost the city of Huntington $151,906.