Be proactive and rectify a dangerous situation

Our municipal officials have had a relatively easy go of it when it comes to fielding criticism from a disgruntled electorate. Sure, every member of council, Mayor Cliff Barwick included, fields calls and emails from upset residents on a weekly basis.
That is about to change Monday evening as former mayor Janet Golding turns up the heat as she stands before council to demand action on a matter no alderman has had the moxie to confront — unsafe crosswalks.
The Times-Journal headline two weeks ago today lays it on the line, “Two crosswalk lines … ‘mean nothing.’

“Evidently, pedestrians have for many years felt some security and legal protection by crossing at these painted line crosswalk locations,” writes Golding as the preamble to her deputation to council.
“And, as it appears, falsely so,” she continues.
Motorists who regularly proceed along Elm Street appreciate the volume of traffic has increased significantly over the last few years, and in particular during the school year. In the process presenting a greater danger to pedestrians attempting to cross the very wide thoroughfare in front of St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.
“Clearly, creating a false sense of security for a pedestrian by painting two lines on the pavement and placing a sign denoting a pedestrian crosswalk is very dangerous when vehicular traffic has no obligation to give right-of-way to the pedestrian,” Golding observes.
She correctly advises the crosswalk is not just for the convenience of those attending to the hospital, but is also used by pedestrians wishing to access the doctor’s offices on the north side of Elm Street.
“Immediately correcting the status of the crosswalk in front of our hospital by either installing pedestrian-operated traffic lights to the ones installed in front of Pinafore Park, or a legally-designated crossover lighted system used in many other municipalities is the right thing to do before another tragedy occurs,” she stresses.
It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s a moral obligation that all of those around the horseshoe in council chambers must recognize.
Golding concludes her letter by urging “our city leaders to be proactive and immediately correct this very dangerous situation.”
For the sake of Harold Hill, his family and friends, let the tragedy of his death on Elm Street not be the subject of toothless reports, but instead a call to action.
Included in Monday’s agenda is a request from Doug Reycroft, chairman of the Community Schools Alliance encouraging our municipal representatives to write MPP Steve Peters in support of a “Smart Moratorium” on school closures.
Just, wondering. Would that apply to the downtown corridor, which will soon be bereft of schools (including the possibility of the closing of Arthur Voaden Secondary School) as the Thames Valley District School Board consolidates all of this city’s facilities into cookie-cutter templates of what apparently works best in London?
BUS STOP, BUS GO NOTHING GETS DONE  Speaking of the London-centered school board, Joe Pollard (mentioned the past couple of weeks in this corner as he attempts to ensure children aren’t entering and exiting their school bus in the middle of an intersection) will appear before council on Monday, armed with a petition signed by concerned parents.
Definitely a worry for those involved, but how frustrating this item must come before mayor and council in an attempt to remedy a situation that should have been addressed almost two months ago by our trustee, school board and the bus consortium.
City Scope enjoyed an enlightened discussion this week with Jackie Anger, whom you may remember from her leadership role with Stomp Out Smoke, based out of the Talbot Teen Centre.
Their funding has been cut off, but that hasn’t discouraged her from continuing to aggressively target teen smokers. And she graciously agreed to offer her insight into the creeping scourge of contraband tobacco in our schools.
It’s a depressing scenario — the cheaper the smokes, the more teens partake. We’ll have the full conversation next week in this corner.
“There is no right of way for pedestrians.”
Environmental services director John Dewancker clears up any crosswalk confusion — the signs at many of these crossings throughout the city are strictly a warning for drivers. Comforting.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to:

6 thoughts on “Be proactive and rectify a dangerous situation


    Definition of being proactive: Taking action before a situation becomes a source of confrontation or crisis…Essentially, being proactive is controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than waiting to respond to conditions after it has happened which is reactive. ~ Stephen Covey

    Asking this council to be proactive is a bit like asking them to lick their elbow.

    Any actions taken now regarding pedestrian crosswalks are totally reactive, as a pedestrian was killed while crossing the street which sparked the call for action.


    “True management is hard work, requiring skills in planning, analysis, organization, leadership, and communications. To some, it is easier to let problems come to them as opposed to trying to anticipate problems and take action before they occur. In other words, they resign themselves to a life of reactive management.
    The proactive manager invests his time and money in planning and,consequently, spends less in implementation. In contrast, the reactive manager regards planning as a waste of time and is content spending an inordinate amount of time in implementation, thereby incurring more costs and, because of the ensuing chaos, needs to micromanage people.” ~ Tim Bryce


    Action is the measure of real intelligence ~ Napoleon Hill


  2. Bill: The term proactive was put forth by Janet Golding and I initially questioned that. However, not having seen the police report, I think it’s fair to say the crosswalk is not the sole contributing factor in this tragic accident. I still believe battling glare from the sun, morning and evening, is a major factor. In any event, this and all similar crossings in the city are neither legal, nor necessarily safe. So in that regard, addressing this on Monday evening would, in a sense, be proactive, although not in the strict sense of the accepted definition you noted.



    “Pedestrians are the bottom of the ladder, and enjoy the exact opposite of the right of way. Even if you’re already in the intersection, and the walk signal is green, you’re expected to dive out of the way of any car that happens to turn right through the crosswalk. If pedestrians really needed to get where they are going, they’d be in a car, preferably a large one.”

    Sound familiar…. hold still, it’s actually from an article this weekend about the pecking order of pedestrians in Beijing.

    Bill Sandison


  4. Bill: Great article. If this keeps up crosswalking will become an Olympic sport. Ian


  5. Hi Ian,

    Thought you might be interested to know that I spoke to the investigating officer on Tuesday night. He informed me that the police report had been competed on Monday, October 19 the day of the first city council meeting when my father’s death was addressed and that they had it in their hands by 1pm in the afternoon prior to the meeting.

    Council stated that we were waiting for the report before making any decision regarding
    the crosswalk when questioned by Janet Golding.

    The officer also commented that he ‘heard’ the city is moving on implementing a full stop light in front of the hospital … we’ll see.

    I’m certain my letter hasn’t won me any
    friends on council or the police force.

    Steve Hill


  6. Steve: It’s not about winning friends or coming out ahead in a popularity contest. Trust me, I know all about that. It is critically important the death of your father is not in vain. That’s why I will continue to keep this in the forefront until the powers to be at city hall rectify not only the hospital crosswalk, but every other crosswalk in the c ity that is not properly marked and signed. Ian


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