Richmond installs speed tables to slow down drivers after a VCU student was killed on campus

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Posted at 4:46 PM, May 11, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- One week after a VCU student was killed walking on a Main Street sidewalk, the City of Richmond added speed tables to slow down traffic along Main and Cary streets.

Shawn Soares, 26, was killed May 4, when a driver drove up onto the sidewalk after a crash.

“It shouldn’t happen, so I’m very grateful that they are doing this and that they’ve started really quickly, in terms of like from the last one," VCU student Henry Jobe said.

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The last one was in January when 22-year-old Mahrokh Khan, another VCU student, was killed when a driver hit her as she crossed at Laurel and West Main streets.

“It should have happened sooner. It shouldn’t have taken two student deaths for them to do this," VCU student Emma Eaton said.

City officials told CBS 6 the speed table project was in the queue before Soares's death, but got moved to the top.

For months, street safety advocates and students have called for changes in and around campus.

“Like just slow down, be more careful. It’s not worth it to come speeding through here and take a life," Eaton said.

“It’s not always the driver's fault; it’s not always the pedestrian's fault. There just needs to be more attention, in general, on both ends," Jobe added.

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The first speed table that went in was on the same block where Soares was killed.

One issue with that stretch of road is that cars on Main Street are coming downhill after multiple green lights until they reach that area.

Even before the signs went up Thursday, it appeared the speed tables were making a little bit of a difference as most drivers who passed through hit the brakes and slowed down along that section of Main Street.

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Richmond installs speed humps around the VCU campus.

Ali Hamdan prayerfully paused on the corner where Soares was killed.

He said he heard the crash and saw the aftermath.

“It was a terrifying scene," Hamdan said. "I’ve been saying this for years: the roads here need to change immediately. The fact it took a student, not even a regular person, a student, to die, and finally like we need a change; that’s disappointing.”

City leaders said they were exploring other ways of reducing driving speeds around Richmond.

Richmond Police continue to investigate the May 4 crash that killed Soares.

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