West Texas A&M University officials believe traffic moves too rapidly along Russell Long Boulevard, which borders the northern edge of the WT campus in Canyon.
It’s now working with the Texas Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the thoroughfare. Canyon City Hall has joined the effort, too.
WT is building a football stadium on its campus. Russell Long Boulevard — named after the former WT president — is getting a lot greater volume of student pedestrian traffic.
According to KFDA NewsChannel 10: “We’re having more and more students cross Russell Long. Russell Long is a state highway. It is controlled by the state of Texas, so the speeds on it are not really friendly to pedestrians and so there’s some concern there,” said Vice President of Business and Finance Randy Kirkel. “So we’ve just been in initial discussion with the City of Canyon. What can we do to make this a possibility and a long-term plan to make Russell Long more of a campus/city street.”
I have a thought that WT and the city ought to consider if it wants TxDOT to surrender authority of the street traffic to local officials: Place a phone call to state Rep. John Smithee, the Amarillo Republican who is one of the Texas House’s senior members. Smithee, who’s served in the House since 1985, surely has some stroke with TxDOT.
WT happens to be Smithee’s major institutional constituent. My strong hunch, based on what I know of Smithee, is that he’d be willing to carry the torch on WT’s behalf to the halls of the Texas highway department.
I happen to agree with the assessment that Russell Long Boulevard speed limits need to be reduced to accommodate the greater pedestrian traffic at WT.
Smithee’s office is in downtown Amarillo. Call him.