PHILIP BLATCH: Ongoing safety issues at crosswalk

Bunbury Road-Horton Park crossing continues to pose problems for pedestrians, motorists

Published on April 20, 2017

Stratford resident Philip Blatch says this crosswalk on Bunbury Road is unsafe and needs lights to alert drivers when pedestrians are using it.

©(Ryan Ross/The Guardian)

This is another letter regarding ongoing safety issues at the Bunbury Rd. - Horton Park crosswalk.  

The problem that we now have is still with many west-bound vehicles that still do not seem to be aware of the crosswalk’s existence. These vehicles must come around a curve in the Bunbury Rd. and then are almost upon this poorly marked walkway that is less than 100 meters from the curve.
This gives drivers very little time to react, not only the walkway itself, but also to anyone who might be crossing at the time. The addition of a street light at the walk way has improved things at night with the walkway being better illuminated, but the light does not indicate the location of the walkway, nor of its existence and the problem continues into the daylight hours with many drivers not yielding.
The problem, we believe, is that many of these drivers may be driving while distracted and do not have their minds on their driving. Because of this they do not notice the warning signs placed on the roadside before the walkway and they certainly do not see the signs that are in place at the walkway itself.
The other problem is with drivers who are unfamiliar with the area and thus are unaware of the walkway’s existence. This poses a great threat to the safety of those on foot who are trying to cross this busy highway in order to access business and services in the area.
Many requests have been made to the department of transportation and public works minister Paula Bigger for the installation of an overhead signage system that projects out over the traveled lanes of the highway, thus putting the signage directly in the line of sight for motorists traveling in either direction. These signs are highly noticeable during the daylight hours and at night when the signs are illuminated are very easy to see by traffic coming in both directions.
This signage is also equipped with flashing amber warning lights that may be activated by a person at either end of the walkway to indicate to motorists that the walkway is in use. To date, all requests for this much-needed system have been refused. The excuses have been that more study is needed, that trees need to be trimmed to improve sightlines, and that the speed limit that no one pays attention to anyway, must be lowered.
All of these excuses make little sense. We are not requesting a bypass or pedway - just low cost overhead signage for both the safety of motorists and pedestrians who use this busy intersection. We are strongly urging Minister Bigger to access federal infrastructure money to help offset the cost of this very necessary safety project. I have been told that the cost of the equipment for this project runs around $12,000 to $15,000 dollars. Installation would be extra.
The prevention of even one injury accident at this location would save our health care system tens of thousands of dollars, more than paying for the cost of this safety system.
I am again making a public plea to Minister Bigger to make no more excuses and to do the right thing by approving and installing this much needed safety system without further delay.

- Philip Blatch is a resident of Horton Park, Stratford who is leading an effort to improve the Bunbury Rd. - Horton Park crosswalk, and on going safety problems there