Family of Injured Teen Urges More Pedestrian Safety at Intersection

By Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- A Cedar Rapids teenager remains in the hospital intensive care unit after a pickup truck struck him while he was on the way to school Tuesday morning.

JoeSeff Mull, 16, remains hospitalized at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with multiple injuries. He was hit while crossing the intersection of Sixth Street and 76th Avenue S.W. shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. Mull had just gotten off a city bus and was trying to run across Sixth Street when he was struck.

Mull’s father, Tony, knows his son was wrong to cross the street without seeing the traffic. But he also believes the city should consider the needs of pedestrians trying to get to the College Community school district from that intersection.

Tony Mull said he doesn’t know exactly why his son got off the city bus at that intersection. But he suspects his son feared he was running late and wanted to hurry up and get to Prairie High School about a half mile away.

Mull would like to see a pedestrian overpass, not just a crosswalk, at that busy rural intersection. A city traffic engineer said something like that costs at least a million dollars, if not more. But Mull isn’t deterred.

“If it saves one kid’s life by doing that, I believe it’s worth it,” he said.

Crosswalk markings would cost a lot less. But a traffic engineer said even that isn’t justified by the location. There is no housing in the area to draw pedestrians and no sidewalks to accommodate walkers.

John Speer, College Community Superintendent, said the district wouldn’t endorse a pedestrian overpass or even crosswalks there because there’s already a safer solution.

The city bus Mull was on at the time continues south for a bit, then loops back and makes a stop right in the middle of the school campus. And there’s city bus service, with stops on campus, from six in the morning until seven o’clock at night.

“It’s the nature of teenagers to be in a hurry,” Speer said adding “but if they stick on that same bus another 12 minutes it ends up on campus. So the main safely lesson is let’s use the method that’s already here.”

The superintendent said eight or nine years ago, more students did get off city buses at the corner of Sixth Street and 76th Avenue because it was the closest stop to school. But with a route change and on campus bus stop for city buses, staying on the bus rather than getting off early is the safest solution.

Speer said only a small number of students ride city buses instead of a school bus to College Community. But it does happen and that was the reason the school convinced the city transit department to include a stop right on campus.

l Comments: (319) 368-8611; dave.franzman@sourcemedia.net

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