'Scary path' to be replaced at Stanford to protect students

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A man-made trail on the Stanford University campus that students have dubbed the "scary path" is being replaced.

Work began Monday on a new walking path that is aimed at protecting students from danger.

The path is near the south side of campus, where the fraternity houses are. There are no lights or safety features. But that's all changing.

The shovels were out and a new sign was installed.

Stanford junior Alexis Kallen said she used to walk it but stopped after feeling it was too risky. "I think my biggest fear in the case of this path is sexual assault. I mean, we see over and over again that dark spaces offer a good place for people to sexually assault others," she said.

Kallen worked with university administrators to make a path that was safe. A task force listened to students' concerns and decided the new path was needed.

The Knoll Path, as it will now be called, will be paved, have lighting and an emergency call tower.

"We're very concerned about sexual assault," said Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman. "Today's groundbreaking for this is to create a safer space. This particular path, we have never seen a sexual assault."

The path is near the fraternity houses on Lomita Drive, in the vicinity of where former Stanford student Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman in 2015.

"I don't feel super safe walking alone on campus. I think that's a general thing both on Stanford's campus and off Stanford's campus, so having lighting and paved pathways makes a huge difference in trying to get from point A to point B," student Jordan Parker said.

Construction of the new path is expected to be done by the end of the summer. While Kallen is pleased, she's not stopping there.

She will be asking the university to install exterior surveillance cameras on student housing, which she thinks will help in sexual assault cases.

Click here for stories on the Brock Turner case.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.