Horrible, tragic news…and really inexcusable. As for Shawn Soares, he was extremely impressive young man with his whole life ahead of him, working towards his MBA at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 2024, and having worked as an intern for Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA04); a finance intern for DPVA; legislative assistant to Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun); Special Assistant for Gubernatorial Appointments & Director of AAPI Outreach in Gov. Ralph Northam’s office; Outreach Director at the U.S. House of Representatives; and Policy and Campaigns Manager for Clean Energy and Climate Justice Policy at the Virginia Conservation Network. In short, Shawn Soares was an *incredibly talented*, up-and-coming leader…but all that’s now been cut short in a @#$@! car accident. Ugh.
This tragegy, of course, demonstrates how wee really, really need to make our cities – and everywhere – safe for pedestrians, and not just prioritized for cars! As VCU says, changes “could include lowering speed limits, extending pedestrian crossing times, adding traffic-slowing street alterations and more.” Yes, obviously, do all of those things – and a LOT more, including any number of measures aimed at putting pedestrians FIRST and cars waaaaayyy below them in terms of priorities.
To the VCU community:
We are very sad to share that VCU student Shawn Soares died in a traffic accident Thursday evening along the 300 block of West Main St. The Richmond Police Department crash team is investigating the cause.
Shawn’s death is tragic and heartbreaking. I knew Shawn and worked with him on many issues. He was an exceptionally positive force in our world and was living to make the lives of everyone better. He was one of the best students I’ve ever known.
On behalf of the entire VCU community, we extend our most sincere prayers and condolences to Shawn’s family, friends and all who knew him.
As we grieve together, please know that University Counseling Services resources are available to students who need assistance. Students can also use resources through our Dean of Students Office, TimelyCare and You@VCU.
VCU faculty members and staff can access a list of support resources on ramstrong.vcu.edu/.
Pedestrian and vehicle safety
It is clear that major change is needed to the city streets and sidewalks on and adjacent to our campuses. The university is 100 percent committed to making improvements and is counting on the city to partner with us.
Work has already begun on immediate and long-term changes. Since earlier this semester, VCU Police have dramatically increased traffic enforcement, resulting in 695 traffic stops, 228 warnings, 811 citations and 61 arrests.
VCU has also hired an independent expert to recommend improvements. That report is due by July 1.
We expect recommendations to include changes to infrastructure for streets and pedestrian areas as well as to traffic patterns. These could include lowering speed limits, extending pedestrian crossing times, adding traffic-slowing street alterations and more.
VCU will enact meaningful change to the city streets on and adjacent to campus through our partnership with the city.
President, VCU and VCU Health