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Residents of Tech Village doubt N. Willow safety

By Shane Foley
On February 6, 2014

There is growing concern among Tech Village students regarding the state of traffic on North Willow Avenue. Some residents said they have begun to feel unsafe crossing four lanes of traffic to reach the laundry facility in the apartment complex.

 Angela Anderson is a Tech student living in Tech Village.

"The crosswalk in front of the laundry facility is very unsecure," Anderson said. "It's pretty bad having to cross the road with heavy laundry when cars don't slow down most of the time."

There is an unmarked crosswalk on North Willow Avenue, and Tennessee state law mandates that vehicles must yield to pedestrians on unmarked crosswalks. Some students have asked for better indication that there are crosswalks on the street.

 North Willow is part of Highway 136, and any changes to it are under control of the City of Cookeville Public Works department. Despite this, Chief of Tech Police Gay Shepherd said Tech does have a say in what happens with the road.

"Tech has a voice with what happens with the road just like we do with Dixie Avenue," said Shepherd. "It is, however, ultimately up to the city."

Some students have reported crossing the street halfway between the four lanes, and being ignored by cars even as they stood in the road.

"The only way to safely cross Willow Avenue is to go out of your way a great deal, or wait for a break in traffic," said former Tech Village resident Joshua Nichols.

Greg Brown, head of the Cookeville Department of Public Works, said the department has acknowledged the unsafe crosswalk.

"We have received a complaint about the crosswalks on North Willow and are currently in discussion with the state about getting official signage and making the crosswalks handicap accessible," Brown said. "We will either decide to make it official, or remove the unofficial crosswalk altogether, whichever seems to be the safest."

Until a formal decision has been made, students are recommended to use the official crosswalk at the intersection of North Willow Avenue and Circle Drive.

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