Following public calls to address pedestrian safety along Nicholson Drive near Tigerland, where an LSU student was fatally struck by an SUV in July, city-parish officials plan to upgrade existing lighting and add two new lights along the roadway.
The plans are to install two additional street lights near the crosswalk at Nicholson and Jennifer Jean drives, says city-parish transportation and drainage director Fred Raiford, where college students often cross the roadway after leaving Tigerland bars.
Because Nicholson Drive is a state route, Raiford says, the city-parish must submit a permit for new and upgraded lighting to the state Department of Transportation and Development for approval. He plans to finalize and submit the permit today. DOTD has had no objections to the plans so far.
“I’ve also talked to Entergy about the request,” Raiford says. “They’ll work with us to get the additional lighting. We will upgrade lights there and add two additional light where the crosswalk is.”
While the intersection already has a working crosswalk signal, the lines painted on the roadway have faded, Raiford says, and the city-parish plans to work with DOTD to improve those as well.
He hopes to have the work done within the next two weeks.
On July 17, LSU sophomore Sarah James was struck and killed on Nicholson Drive near Tigerland around 11:40 p.m., according to Baton Rouge police. Other pedestrian accidents have occurred along the roadway near Tigerland in recent years, as well.
Two weeks after the fatal crash, a petition began circulating on social media calling for better lighting in the area. The petition, which now has more than 7,600 signatures, urges Baton Rouge and LSU officials to add street lights along Nicholson Drive near the Jennifer Jean and East Boyd drive intersections “to keep students safe and alive” when they walk home from Tigerland.
“No more young students should lose their lives in this way,” the petition reads.