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In Wake of Fatal Crashes, Students to Hold Traffic Safety Event

by on October 13, 2015 2:00 PM

With three fatal crashes in the past two years along just one State College road, there has been a call for change.

Working together, the College of Communications, Sustainable Communities Collaborative, and the State College Police Department have created a campaign to raise awareness of traffic safety in State College, specifically at the intersection of Atherton Street and Park Avenue. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 5 to 6 p.m., students from a public relations campaign course at Penn State will hold a public awareness event at the North Atherton Street and Park Avenue intersection. 

Student representatives from the course will be handing out surveys to pedestrians to raise awareness of vehicle and pedestrian safety in State College, while also trying to come up with solutions that can help prevent future traffic fatalities. Police chief Tom King and other officials from the State College Borough will also be at the event.

The first of three fatal crashes that struck the State College community over the past two years was in July 2014 when freshman Eva O’Brian, 18, was jogging and crossed the Atherton Street and Park Avenue intersection against the signal, causing her to be hit by a pickup truck.

On June 22, 2015, Joel Reed, 39, was riding his scooter when a car turned left onto Park Avenue and struck him.

This September, Michael Eieben, a 23-year-old Penn state graduate student, was involved in a fatal crash while crossing the intersection of Atherton Street and Curtin Road. The investigation is still in the works.

“For police and public works, any time there’s a fatality or a serious accident, we will immediately look at anything we can do to help prevent that in the future,” Public Works Director Mark Whitfield previously told “This intersection has risen high on our list of concerns, alongside other locations.”

Over the past couple of years, the State College borough staff has made changes to several intersections in State College to try and prevent these accidents from occurring. 

The goal of the public awareness event is to further the initiative taken to enhance vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety and create more solutions for this problem.

Jaime is a fall news intern for and a junior at Penn State.
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