West Campus lighting in the spotlight with new survey

UT students walking in West Campus at night (KXAN Photo)
UT students walking in West Campus at night (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the city of Austin and the University of Texas work in tandem to address safety concerns in the West Campus area, the city wants your thoughts on the neighborhood’s lighting.

On Tuesday, the city launched a survey to solicit feedback from anyone in the community, not just UT students.

“Feedback is critical to creating positive sustainable safety changes in West Campus,” says Joell McNew, vice president of SafeHorns, a group started by UT parents focused on campus safety after the murder of Haruka Weiser. “We realize that many areas have concerning issues.”

The study asks questions such as whether people think the current lighting is adequate and if they feel safe walking in the area at night. The city’s transportation department says it has already seen a great turnout of students sharing their thoughts.

The survey is one of the steps the city is taking as part of its overall 6-month study of the West Campus area, which was launched in August. The various departments will collaborate to deliver a final report that includes lighting, pedestrian and crime analysis of the neighborhood to Austin City Council in spring 2018.

Ever since Weiser’s murder in April 2016, university police have added patrols to West Campus. UT Police Chief David Carter told KXAN that campus and the surrounding areas saw an increase in the homeless and transient population in 2014, and that number has decreased over the years.

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