One Prince Albert city councillor is continuing to push for a crosswalk near Victoria Hospital.
Ward 1 Coun. Charlene Miller said she has been asking administration to look at installing a crosswalk near the intersection of 25th Street. W. and 10th Ave. ever since a man was hit on Halloween night two years ago while trying to cross.
At the end of April, a school bus with students on board struck an 82-year-old woman who was crossing the street near the hospital. The woman was taken to hospital where she later died.
In March, a pedestrian suffered minor injuries after colliding with a vehicle on Ninth Ave. W near the hospital. Poor visibility was blamed for the cause of the crash.
Miller said she was frustrated nothing has been done yet, despite the city's renewed effort to conduct an assessment of the intersection.
“(Administration) said no back then and they are still saying no,” she said. “I understand why but I have asked many times and the health region has asked many times as well.”
She explained a study was done on the area and the conclusion was a pedestrian-operated crosswalk wasn’t needed because the traffic volume didn’t warrant it.
City manager Jim Toye said the city is working with the Prince Albert Police Service to conduct a traffic study in the area of 10th Ave. E and 25th Street. He explained the city did an assessment roughly 16 to 18 months ago but is reviewing the intersection following the recent incident.
“The last time we did it, there wasn’t sufficient traffic to warrant signalization at that corner,” he said. “But of course, when there is a situation where there is a fatality, we want to make sure we review that information and look at all the options we have and see what we can do to mitigate any such occurrence in the future.”
He added the study will be completed within the next couple of weeks.
Miller said she works at the hospital and knows firsthand that a lot of traffic comes and goes down that corridor. She explained to avoid paying for parking, people will park across the street from the hospital and walk over.
She said the area sees a lot of close calls.
“There’s also two nursing homes attached to the Victoria Hospital so you get their family members coming to visit,” she said. “So there’s lots of traffic that goes there.”
According to data from SGI, there was one vehicle on vehicle collision in 2013, four in 2014 and one in 2015. The data for 2016 isn’t available yet.
Installing a crosswalk isn’t cheap as the cost could be thousands of dollars.
Miller said the question for her is can the city afford not to.
“I struggle with (cost) a lot myself,” she said. “I know everything is expensive but I don’t think we need traffic lights. I do think we need pedestrian crosswalks. The flashing lights like Saskatoon has. If we need to take a trip to Saskatoon to go and see what a crosswalk light looks like, then let’s do that.”
Lyle Karasiuk, director of public affairs for Parkland Ambulance Care, said summertime is usually when ambulances respond to more vehicle-pedestrian collisions. When looking at the city as a whole, most collisions happen near the downtown and Cornerstone area, he said.
“We teach kids to cross at a corner, use a mechanized crosswalk, cross at a pedestrian crosswalk, those sorts of things,” he said. “We need to as adults remind ourselves, again, crossing at the corner is where the traffic expects to see you.”
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