Drive Safely to Wayne State Campaign, featuring the Grand Opening of Pedestrian Safety Project, Sept. 20-21

Wayne State University is making improvements to Anthony Wayne Drive that will mean extra margins of safety and convenience for both drivers and pedestrians.

This fall, significant infrastructure changes will be completed along Anthony Wayne between Warren Avenue and Kirby Street. The area is receiving new landscaping and more than 100 new parking places; street lights and pedestrian crossing lights called Hawk signals also are being installed. This busy area of dorms, classroom buildings and shops is set to become more accommodating to pedestrians and to retail customers' vehicles, as well.

The grand opening of this enhanced stretch of Anthony Wayne Drive will coincide with the 2010 "Drive Safely to Wayne State" campaign. The event, now in its seventh year, promotes safe driving and walking and is conducted by the Wayne State College of Engineering's Transportation Research Group (WSU-TRG).

"We're pleased to twin these events," said WSU President Allan Gilmour, "because their common theme is safety. A number of interesting activities connected with Drive Safely to Wayne will remind both drivers and pedestrians about safe travel, and the changes we're making to Anthony Wayne Drive will change the ambience of this entire side of campus, making it a safer and more user-friendly place to walk, shop and get around."

The event will begin on Anthony Wayne Drive at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20. It will be emceed by Fox 2 reporter Jackie Paige. Speakers at the opening ceremony include WSU President Allan Gilmour; keynote speaker Terri Lynn Land, secretary of state; Saul Green, deputy mayor, City of Detroit; and top personnel from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan State Police.

Various activities, interactive demonstrations and exhibits will be set up along Anthony Wayne Drive through the end of the day Tuesday, Sept. 21. Each will focus on a particular traffic safety theme including safety restraint use, pedestrian safety and the consequences of drinking and driving.

Interactive games and events will be showcased such as child safety seat checks, demonstrations of "fatal vision" goggles that simulate impaired driving, free samples of "mocktails" to promote alternatives to alcoholic beverages, and the display of vehicles that were involved in crashes. Daily prize drawings will be held for students, faculty, staff and the public.

Improvements to Anthony Wayne Drive include a reduction in travel lanes from four to two in each direction, the installation of bike lanes and aesthetic improvements including benches, trees and ornamental lighting.

"The objective of this project is to create a pedestrian-friendly environment," says Professor Tapan Datta, director of the WSU-TRG. "Not only will pedestrians be safer, but the environment for commercial development on the east and possibly the west side of Anthony Wayne Drive also will be enhanced."

In addition to the Drive Safely to WSU campaign, the WSU-TRG is involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of traffic safety programs on a local, state and national level. These programs cover a broad spectrum including engineering, education and enforcement initiatives.

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