The intersection where Kelly crossed does not have a crosswalk or lights for pedestrians, police and university officials said.
The intersection features a break in the cement median divider that runs along much of Route 9 in the area, but cars are not allowed to turn there; only emergency vehicles are allowed to use the section for turnarounds, state transportation officials said.
“Route 9 is a high-speed roadway with high volume; there is limited lighting and it is never safe for pedestrians to cross on foot,” said Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the state’s transportation agency.
Verseckes noted that the Department of Transportation put message boards along Route 9 indicating that pedestrians must use the raised bridges to cross.
“MassDOT will continue to work with Framingham State University and the town of Framingham to dissuade pedestrians from crossing Route 9,” he said.
Matthews said she and other school officials have already talked about meeting and discussing how to stop another tragedy from occurring.
“I know other faculty and administrators want to take more steps to prevent this from happening,” Matthews said.
She said she wanted to encourage students to use the footbridge near campus, even if it meant an extra 10 minutes of walking.
“Colleen wasn’t a person who took risks without thought. It just shows how dangerous that crossing is,” Matthews said. “The campus needs to look at ways to make the surrounding area safe for students, but students also need to act responsibly and realize how dangerous it is.”
Matthews remembered Kelly as a mature, responsible, poised student who loved learning and had a passion for reading.
“She was a senior in college; she had her whole life ahead of her,” Matthews said. “We all thought she would have gone on to do great things.”
Claudia Springer, an English and film studies professor who taught Kelly in four courses, said she hoped the senior’s death would not be in vain.
“This might be a kind of wake-up call for students to recognize the importance to using that bridge,” Springer said, adding that she thinks there should be more footbridges built. “Another possibility would be to build a big fence to prevent students from crossing there. That would require students to go down to the footbridge.”
Springer, who was also Kelly’s academic adviser, said she remembers Kelly as a quiet and reserved person who approached every academic assignment with enthusiasm. She said Kelly had just started looking into careers in library science or archival work.
“She was about to graduate. She only needed one more class,” Springer said. “Just as she was stepping out into the world and thinking about new directions, her life was cut short.”
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.