PAPS Reviews Campus Lighting and Safety

After a car struck Joseph Faller ’14 as he crossed Main Street on October 27, the Phillips Academy Public Safety Department (PAPS) decided to conduct a review of the campus lighting and pedestrian safety.

Thomas Conlon, Director of PAPS, said, “There have been calls from time to time from the town motorists about not being able to see students cross at night.”

Conlon sent an email to the school on November 19 to get feedback on the current campus lighting and pedestrian safety program. In the email, he encouraged the members of the community to email PAPS with their opinion.

Most of the feedback focused on two specific areas, campus parking lots and Main Street, which responders deemed the least-lit areas on campus.

Conlon said that this feedback will be organized and presented to Rodney Emery, a safety program consultant hired by the Academy for PAPS’s campus lighting project. Emery also worked with PAPS in 2004.

PAPS will coordinate with Emery on several different solutions, present their plans to the administration and determine which plan will be the most feasible and appropriate for campus.

Though no dramatic changes have been planned, PAPS hopes to utilize new products to improve lighting near Main Street.

The current campus lighting and pedestrian safety program at Phillips Academy involves making sure that all the lights across the campus are lit and calling PAPS officers to help students cross at night, according to Conlon.

“We want faculty, students and people who use it every day to email us because they see what we don’t see,” said Conlon.

The last review of the pedestrian and lighting system was done in 2004, when the school put flashes on the Vista, around the bell tower and on Salem Street. PAPS also changed the configuration of the cross walks on campus.

Though PAPS incorporated the latest technology that year, new equipment has been introduced since 2004 to improve safety.

“Massachusetts Highway would not let us use new technology then, but they have changed their views on aspects of technology a lot since [2004],” said Conlon.

Massachusetts’s laws now support the near-constant updates to lighting equipment, allowing Phillips Academy to use the latest technology available to promote pedestrian safety.

“Hopefully, the new products will make the crosswalks and people walking more visible and will light the area better,” said Conlon.

PAPS has received feedback from a variety of community members so far. Feedback showed that both students and faculty feel that the crosswalks are not lit enough and drivers feel that they can not see the students entering the crosswalk.

PAPS hopes to do another campus lighting and pedestrian safety review in the next five or six years, as more advanced technology for pedestrian safety becomes available.