Rutgers Speeds Katzenbach Bus Stop Renovations

by Anastasia Groce

Rutgers officials are accelerating the timetable for relocating the Katzenbach bus stop after a Rutgers student was hit by a car near the stop on Saturday evening.

Renovations began Wednesday afternoon and will be completed sometime within the semester.

Jack Molenaar, director of the Rutgers Department of Transportation Services, announced at the Douglass Governing Council meeting on Tuesday that a Katzenbach resident attempting to cross the street was struck by a car and taken to the hospital Saturday night, prompting the immediate closure of the bus stop.

According to officials, immediate implementations include moving the stop 90 feet closer to the crosswalk, caution tape blocking off the old bus shelter, the addition of a yield sign and a snow fence constructed across the lawn to prevent Katzenbach residents from crossing the street.

The Douglass Governing Council made the safety of the Katzenbach bus stop its top priority earlier this year, creating an online petition and meeting with local officials from New Brunswick and the state Department of Transportation to see what actions could be taken to make the bus stop safer.

“It’s unfortunate that it has taken so much effort from the students for the administration to simply acknowledge the students’ concerns to fix the accessibility and safety of the bus stop,” said Francine Glaser, a Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences senator for Douglass Campus, who introduced a bill advocating for improvements to the bus stop last semester.

“We’ve worked so hard to get this bill passed,” said Glaser. “After being a victim of sexual harassment at that bus stop, it was my mission to make a change to ensure the safety of future residents.”

Dean Jacquelyn Litt of Douglass Residential College announced earlier last month at the Douglass Town Hall meeting that improvements to the bus stop were scheduled to be made later this spring that included a camera, NextBus ticker and stop sign.

Throughout the years, many students have reported incidents of sexual assault and dangerous traffic conditions while trying to cross the street.

The bus stop was located between two curves on Ryders Lane and the poor lighting in the area made it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians attempting to cross the street.

“I had gotten off the bus and was crossing the street when a car rounded the curve and missed me by a couple feet,” said Gabriela Milian, a former Katzenbach resident.

Officials said the bus stop is known for being extremely dangerous due to the poor lighting and having no cameras in addition to the shelter missing parts that help to shield pedestrians from the weather.

“Me and many girls I know fear using that bus stop,” said Milian, “It’s relieving to hear that they’re making it safer and more accessible for the students.”

In addition to the other issues, the bus stop has no sidewalk and a step, which is not easily accessible to students with physical disabilities.

“There are no more excuses to prolong the renovations of the stop and I’m glad that they have finally taken measures to move the stop,” said Glaser.