ROCKFORD – As the family of Tikarra McGee continues to mourn the death of the mother of three, a crosswalk they believe could have saved her life is being installed on East State Street at New Towne Drive .
McGee, 30, was struck by a vehicle and killed before 1 a.m. on March 6 as he crossed East State Street near New Towne Drive.
She was returning to a nearby domestic violence shelter after buying snacks at the Fas Fuel gas station, 5330 E. State St., according to family members.
Although the crosswalk and additional sidewalks are too late for her niece, Toni Thomas says she hopes the improvements will help keep others safe.
Family on Tikarra McGee:Rockford woman killed crossing East State Street was mother of 3
“Unfortunately it’s a day late and a dollar is missing, but hopefully it can save lives,” Thomas said. “I’m glad they’re trying to rectify the situation.”
City traffic engineer Jeremy Carter said the long-running $531,217 East State Street project includes adding a crosswalk, pedestrian traffic lights and accounts backwards.
It will also involve reconfiguring the islands to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and later building a sidewalk that will connect to an existing sidewalk south of the East State on New Towne. It also complements an Illinois Department of Transportation project to build new sidewalks on the north side of the East State.
Another project:Rockford gets $16.5 million to make downtown more bike and pedestrian friendly
There were 30 fatal crashes in 2021 at Rockford, more than double the 14 fatal crashes reported in 2019 and 2020. There were 32 people killed in those 30 fatal crashes in 2021, including 11 pedestrians.
McGee’s mother, Wilma Johnson, set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for McGee’s funeral and childcare costs.
Mayor Tom McNamara said commercial and residential developments were allowed in the past to be built without sidewalks or cycling facilities. Rockford is trying to correct these mistakes with a concerted effort to make the streets more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
A section of the city’s five-year, $248 million capital improvement program for 2022 devotes $10 million to cycling, pedestrians and active modes of transportation.
“Our hope is that we make our community pedestrian-friendly with the brand new program we’ve put in place and put more funds into sidewalks,” McNamara said. “Our goal is to save lives.”
Jeff Kolkey: (815) 987-1374; firstname.lastname@example.org; @jeffkolkey