AUSTIN — A new study suggests more than 200 lights should be added to the University of Texas at Austin's West Campus neighborhood to improve safety.
Making the streets of West Campus safer has been an ongoing conversation since the death of UT student Haruka Weiser, who was killed in 2016 while walking home after class.
A new study revealed on Monday said about 200 more lights should be added to the area.
“If someone’s walking behind me, I’m kind-of concerned if it’s like, okay or not,” Mariam Karim, a UT student, said.
At night, there are parts of West Campus some UT students try to avoid.
“I think 21st and 22nd, streets like this one, are not very lit and sometimes after 6:30 now, it’s very dark and it’s sometimes scary to walk back home,” Karim said.
“I see it now like, even on this road, there could definitely be more lighting,” Claudia Cockerell, another UT student, said.
These poorly lit areas from Guadalupe to Lamar and 29th Street to Martin Luther King are what the Austin Transportation Department, Austin Energy and Austin Police Department, along with Stanly consultants, looked into after city council made the investigation request back in May 2017.
“There’s over 1,100 existing lights in the neighborhood,” Joel Meyer, with the Austin Transportation Department, said.
Meyer shared the findings at the Austin Public Safety Commission meeting on Monday. He said out of the 1,100 existing lights, 20 percent of them are deficient.
“Either the light bulb was out or there was vandalism or a tree was obstructing the light in some way,” Meyer said.
Some of the concerns were that some streets were well-lit, while alleys and side streets were not.
So, to bring the neighborhood up to lighting standard, they recommend adding 228 lights.
“I’m a 6'1" male, so it’s never really worried me,” Nick Camerano, a UT student, said.
Not all students we spoke to feel unsafe at night, but they do agree on one thing: adding more lights could only help improve their sense of safety.
“I think when there’s more lights, everyone feels a little bit more secure because you can see your surroundings more,” Camerano said.
But adding more lights isn't a cheap fix. It could cost up to $2 million to add these lights.
The departments behind the study are expected to give their recommendations to city council within the next few weeks.