On the evening of Aug. 2, UNC Charlotte Computer Science Master’s student Vivek Pathipati, 24, was walking along University City Boulevard when he was hit and killed by a van. The incident occurred in the 9800 block right by student housing complex Boulevard98.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police closed University City Boulevard for nearly three hours while investigating the fatality. Authorities said, “There is no designated crosswalk at the intersection where the incident occurred.” Police went on to add that speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash.
The death of Pathipati joins that of Riley Howell and Ellis Reed Parlier, victims of the UNC Charlotte shooting, totaling three UNC Charlotte students who have died in 2019. Last year, UNC Charlotte mourned the loss of Polly Rogers, who fell from the window of a party bus.
UNC Charlotte said in a statement on Aug. 5, “UNC Charlotte mourns the loss of international graduate student Vivek Pathipati who was a master’s student in Computer Science. Vivek was a valued member of the Niner Nation and the University’s international student community. UNC Charlotte extends its deepest condolences to his family and his friends.”
UNC Charlotte’s International Student and Scholar Office said in a statement to students, “We are grateful to have known him and he will always be remembered as an important part of the international student community at UNC Charlotte.”
Members of the community and friends of Pathipati have raised over $30,000 on GoFundMe to send his remains to his parents in Bangalore, India and to help with funeral expenses.
In February, the Niner Times reported on over 50 complaints released by the City of Charlotte regarding pedestrian safety concerns in the area. One local resident said, “The signaling pedestrian crossing does not work, [making it] very dangerous to cross the road,” while another resident said, “I can’t cross the street from my parking lot without almost getting hit. There are no sidewalks or crosswalks. Very dangerous. Plus, drivers are always speeding in this area.”
North Carolina’s Department of Transportation has begun planning for a project which will focus on pedestrian safety and address the concerns from students. According to the NCDOT, the purposes of the proposed project are to “reduce traffic congestion, improve traffic flow, and enhance traffic operations on N.C. 49. The project would improve the safety of drivers and pedestrians who use and cross N.C. 49 by using an innovative design called Reduced Conflict Intersections to accommodate the students and bicyclists, a 12-foot multi-use path is proposed to be constructed on both sides of N.C. 49.”
The City of Charlotte is working on a separate plan named “vision zero” which is a comprehensive plan to reduce traffic-related deaths to zero in the next two decades.