“Tonight’s the night to make a decision and step up and create a more safe environment for our citizens.”
That was the sentiment from Coun. Colleen Evans Monday night as she urged her fellow councillors to listen to the community’s pleas for better safety measures for pedestrians.
Evans noted that for nearly a decade, seniors living in and around Ironwood Road and those using the Seniors Centre in the Campbell River Common Mall, have been asking the city for a pedestrian-activated crossing light at the crosswalk on Ironwood at 14th Avenue, but the request has always been denied.
“We’ve been talking about this for 10 years, what would be the reason for delaying this? This is something our community is asking for. This is a safety issue,” Evans stressed. “It’s tonight.”
Coun. Charlie Cornfield agreed that the request has popped up more than once over the past several years.
“This came to my attention when I was first year elected as mayor so this is not something that just came out of the woodwork,” Cornfield said. “It has been there for a long time and finally it’s starting to get some traction.”
Evans and Cornfield said the final straw for them came during a meeting with residents at Ironwood Place, a seniors home across the street from the mall. Evans said she was distressed by what she heard.
“We have residents who are afraid to cross the street…that safety has been put on hold for many of these individuals,” Evans said. “We have increasing density of seniors with mobility challenges who are nervous to even put a step forward because of the fear that the motorists don’t even see them standing at the curb.”
Ironwood Place residents told the Mirror last month that they have been asking the city for the pedestrian crossing lights for several years. They said it’s gotten so bad that some won’t even risk the short walk across the street to the mall and instead opt to take a taxi.
Rita Bresson, administrator of Ironwood Place, told the Mirror that many of the residents no longer feel comfortable walking in their own neighbourhood because of the traffic.
At Monday’s council meeting, their words seemed to resonate with council who made the decision to direct city staff to move forward with putting in the flashing lights. The cost is estimated at $15,000 and will come from the city’s Community Works Fund. The lights are expected to go in before the end of this year.
Mayor Andy Adams said it’s taken this long because each time city staff has reviewed the intersection, it has never met the traffic volume threshold for a pedestrian light.
“This has continually been mentioned during financial plan deliberations and during financial deliberations there is an allocated amount for pedestrian lights and unfortunately this hasn’t met the criteria for staff to move ahead, so I think it’s taken a motion from council to provide direction to go ahead and do that,” Adams said.