A student in the class of 2023 was hit by a car while crossing Main Street on the Vista crosswalk. According to Kit Leckerling, West Quad North Cluster Dean, the student was taken to the hospital but suffered no major injuries.
“Around 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, a vehicle stopped for a group of pedestrians at the Vista crosswalk on Main Street/Route 28. Seeing the car stopped, another student, walking alone and heading east, started to cross the street. The driver of the vehicle did not see this student and started to move forward, striking the student, who rolled off the hood of the car and onto the roadway, sustaining minor injuries. A student who witnessed the accident called 911, and the Andover Police Department and Andover Fire & Rescue responded and provided medical care for the injured student,” wrote Leckerling in an email to The Phillipian.
According to Mark Leonard, Director of Campus Safety, there have been multiple instances of students being struck by cars on Main Street in the past ten to 12 years, resulting in the closure of one of the crosswalks.
“So of the five or six pedestrian accidents during that time frame, the vast majority of them…occurred at that Bell Tower crossing. And of those that happened there, the vast majority of those were at that dusk time frame. So that’s why we decided to close that crosswalk,” said Leonard.
Additionally, Dr. Susan Esty, Dean of Students and Residential Life, shared what changes have been made to the Bell Tower crosswalk, as well as her wishes for students and faculty on campus.
“And so we’ve been closing it with those barricades, hoping that people would understand that we are closing it because it’s not safe. And use the buttons at the big intersection there and cross at the intersection. And I guess that’s one of my pleas for adults and students alike for everyone is those barricades are put out and taken away every day to keep people safe,” said Esty.
In order to address those issues, Phillips Academy Campus Safety (PACS) has worked with both the Andover Police Department and Massachusetts Department of Transportation — the owners of this portion of Main Street — to implement lighting changes.
“The overall lighting…was increased, if you notice that these are the non-signalized intersections, there are additional lights to try to light up the crosswalk and illuminate the crosswalk so that anybody in the crosswalk is more visible. The pedestrian signals themselves have been upgraded to more LED lights to try to grab the attention of drivers,” said Leonard.
Both the Deans Team and Leonard stressed the importance of using “extra” precautions while crossing the street on campus to ensure students are doing everything in their power to keep themselves safe.
“I will say that we’re also well aware, I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes, that drivers don’t always stop even when the button is pushed. And that’s really scary. And so, we can’t control the drivers. But we’re asking students and adults to push the button and then also try to make eye contact, use extra caution and really make sure the car is going to stop because sometimes they’re not stopping,” said Esty.
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