A recently installed crossover at Sykes and Parker Streets has been cause for concern by residents of the neighbourhood, who say that rather than making the crossing safer, it has created new dangers.
“The issue is the new style ‘crossover’ doesn’t work,” resident Anthony Gullo told The Independent. “There is a bend in the road and all the signs are hidden. The lights on the side of the street don’t catch the driver’s attention as a traditional crosswalk would with the lights above head.”
Gullo has been particularly concerned as his nephew, 13-year-old Marc Anthony Attard, is hearing impaired, and has experienced close calls while crossing Sykes Street at the new crossover.
“My nephew went to press the button, waited for the activation of lights, checked the way and started to cross, three cars came around the bend and almost hit him because they ignored the side lights,” Gullo told The Independent. “My sister had to push him out of the way or he would have got hit.”
Gullo contacted the municipality and the media to express his frustration with what he feels is a dangerous crossing.
The new crossing was part of a combined infrastructure project which included a rehabilitation of Sykes Street in the area of Parker Street. Municipal staff noted that prior to the installation, there was no formalized crossing at the location.
“In recognition of trying to safely get residents over Highway 26, and an increase in pedestrian traffic volume, we included a formalized pedestrian crossover in the design and construction of that portion of Highway 26. And the location was decided based on achieving safe sightlines and road/pedestrian use,” advised Jessica Wiley, Meaford’s Director of Infrastructure Services. “We spent a lot of time with our design engineers looking at what works in that location. And given our dedication to making it safe and AODA-compliant, we did take the crossover design to our Accessibility Committee on December 3 of 2020, at which time it was discussed and agreed that it was increasing safety of all users of that location. The actual design was completed by our consulting engineering team, and used the Ontario Traffic Manual as a guide for that design.”
Staff also recognized that motorists need to abide by the lights at the crossing, and stop when the lights are flashing.
“We also have recognized that it is a change for drivers to get use to the crossover which is why we have also tried to promote it, and educate the general public on how to use it and what to do when it is in use,” noted Wiley.
Wiley told The Independent that municipal staff take safety issues seriously, and options are being explored to improve the visibility of the crossing, including additional signage and improved lighting.
“I think we have some options with additional signage that could really help. So we will definitely work through some changes make everyone feel safer,” Wiley told The Independent.