Lufkin pedestrians, residents worry about foot traffic on U.S. 59

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Some Lufkin residents are saying it's just a matter of time before another deadly accident happens on U.S. 59, near Angelina College.

"I wouldn't cross that street. There's no way."

Yet people do. Angelina College student Hope Jernigan spent several minutes pacing the roadway, trying to dash across the street.

"It's frustrating because all these are tempting, all these restaurants and it's right there, but it's so far away at the same time, so it's just a hazard," she said.

Lufkin resident Dayton Jones lives near the college. He understands why Jernigan would want what's across the street.

"We know that they're going to cross," Jones said. "We see it everyday. I'm here two or three times a day and I see them cross it and then you hear about unfortunate accidents and you can understand why that happened."

Last spring, AC student Brandon Hart was hit and killed by a car while darting across the highway. Jernigan says it's not if but when this happens again.

"Ever since I heard about Brandon it's been weighing on my mind," Jernigan said. "It's a big risk."

Speed is also a factor.

"Everyone is zipping along," Jones said. "It's a four-lane highway. It looks like it should be faster than 45 and most people are doing faster than 45."

In the past year, 72 speeding tickets have been issued in the location near Angelina College. It's another reason Jernigan says a crosswalk is a must.

"Maybe just like a small overpass," she said. "Anything, anything would do."

TxDOT Engineer David Collmorgen they don't have the funding for such a costly project. He says building a McDonalds on the campus side would be cheaper.

For residents and students, it's a dangerous reality they're unwilling to accept.

"Whatever the cost, it's not worth what a human life is worth," Jones said.

Even though Jernigan knows it's dangerous, she can't promise she won't try to cross the street again.

"As tempting as the restaurants are, it's not worth it to risk," she said.

Angelina College President Larry Phillips says the college doesn't encourage pedestrian traffic crossing U.S. 59. He says the students have everything they need on campus.

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