Stoplight recommended for crosswalk safety on Mackenzie Avenue in Williams Lake

Station House Gallery curator Beth Holden said she is concerned about the safety of the crosswalk at Mackenzie Avenue and Oliver Street.

After working at the Station House Gallery Oliver for 10 months, curator Beth Holden said she is concerned about the safety of the crosswalk at Mackenzie Avenue and Oliver Street.

In a letter, Holden has asked city council to consider changing the intersection to make it safer.

“Every time I push the crosswalk button and attempt to cross the street, cars drive through. Today I pushed the button and waited and waited and the cars did not stop,” Holden noted.

Consistently, cars are not stopping, if they do then other vehicles will drive on through, and Holden said she’s had people tell her they no longer use the crosswalk for the same reasons.

“The Station House Gallery is a nice destination for people taking an afternoon or a day to wander about town. With the crosswalk the way it is and the fact that it is not monitored to ensure its safety, people will not walk across Mackenzie.”

At the regular council meeting Tuesday, acting chief administrative officer Geoff Goodall said there are  issues with the pedestrian crossing and people making a left hand turn there.

“Visibility is greatly reduced and we’ve looked at possibly limiting parking, but when we look at the businesses there, Mackenzie Avenue is one of the only options for parking there.”

Coun. Ivan Bonnell acknowledged it’s difficult because Mackenzie Avenue is a major artery in the city’s traffic flow, however agreed lots of people exceed the speed limit there.

When Coun. Danica Hughes was living in Calgary, the city instituted a $500 fine for drivers who did not stop at pedestrian crosswalks.

“I’m concerned this is an accident waiting to happen. A loaded logging truck couldn’t stop fast enough if it had to. We need to make this a priority for safety,” Hughes said.

The city will be installing two speed reader boards — one on Third Avenue North between Proctor and Comer Streets and on Foster Way — in addition to ones already in place on South Lakeside and further north on Mackenzie Avenue.

Acting Mayor Laurie Walters suggested that perhaps a speed reader board needs to go up near the intersection at Oliver and Mackenzie.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor, who has been on council for more than two decades, said the city has received numerous complaints in the past about the intersection and the intersection at Comer Street and MacKenzie.

“A few years back there was a report that we could do a walkway done by a civil engineer. When ICBC got involved they said not to do that because it’s a major road. They said lights were the best way to go,”  Rathor said, adding the city needs to do a proper study. “Personally I’d like to see lights and then a set of warning lights.”

Holden’s letter was received by council and the crosswalk referred to the 2013 budget process.

 

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