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.
JUST A THOUGHT
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.
SHE KNOWS OF WHAT SHE SPEAKS
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.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“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: firstname.lastname@example.org.