MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis is fast-tracking plans to improve safety just days after a Memphis College of Art student was killed crossing the street.
Flowers taped to a light post at Tucker Street and Poplar Avenue create a subtle reminder of the young art student's life cut short as she crossed Poplar Avenue late Thursday night.
Kelcie Ashmore, 22, was walking home when she was hit by a driver. Ashmore later died from her injuries.
Last year the Overton Park Conservancy raised more than $4,700 dollars to install high-visibility crosswalks for that same intersection. But, the work has not been started yet by the city.
Now, City of Memphis engineers are working with the Memphis College of Art to move forward with the safety improvements. Those are upgrades that midtown residents call long overdue.
"That needs to happen faster, sooner rather than later, as we have evidence. We have people are dying just trying to cross the street and that's not OK," Don Gaines said.
But other residents in the area said it's because people are not paying attention.
"That main problem is that people don't pay attention," Mackenzie Campbell said. "I don't know how the city could possibly change that. When I am crossing here all the time I try to make eye contact with someone so they don't run over me."
The short term solution to the safety issue will be fixed with high reflectivity cross walks, a countdown on lighted crossing signs, and advanced warning signs.
"It's surprising and also incredibly depressing because it's 100 percent avoidable," Campbell said.
The first round of improvements should be finished at that intersection by the end of June. The city is also applying for federal funding to reconstruct the intersection with more accessible crosswalk buttons and brighter traffic signals.