Aldergrove residents have come before council several times in the past to discuss ways to make their streets safer.
But the dynamics have changed. New parks have been built and old ones expanded, school catchment areas have changed and traffic calming measures have been a “very positive step” in keeping the community safe.
The people of Aldergrove are very thankful for all the Township and other partners have done to provide amenities, but pedestrian safety concerns still need to be addressed, Margo McPhalen told council on Monday.
Finding ways to keep pedestrians safer was the focus of McPhalen’s address to council, which came only three days after an 10-year-old boy was seriously injured as he crossed 29 Avenue near the Kinsmen Community Centre.
“This past Friday after school right on 29 Avenue many students, parents and neighbours witnessed something extremely tragic and traumatic,” McPhalen said.
“A child (was) involved in a pedestrian accident with a motor vehicle, right up the street from the high school, playground, rec centre, daycare and library.”
The boy was crossing the road with another when he was hit by a pickup driven by a mother who was driving to her children’s school.
There is no crosswalk on the mile-long stretch from 264 Street to 272 Street.
Aldergrove has only one school, Parkside Elementary, on the north side of Fraser Highway, and well over half the students who attend the other schools, namely Shortreed Elementary (which the injured boy attends) Betty Gilbert Middle School and Aldergrove Community Secondary, come from the north side of Fraser.
One quarter of those children will be only 10 years old when they start middle school each September, McPhalen pointed out — “the same age of the boy who was airlifted to Children’s Hospital on Friday afternoon.”
McPhelan noted that speed humps installed on 32 Avenue have prompted some drivers to use 29 Avenue to avoid them.
“With the large number of young families in Aldergrove, we are a very pedestrian-heavy community, but we are not a very pedestrian-friendly one,” she said.
As principal of Aldergrove Community Secondary from 2001 to 2007, Councillor Charlie Fox is well aware of traffic issues on 29 Avenue which, he pointed out, is a wide and long stretch of road.
“Accidents like this bring a heightened awareness” of that fact, he said.
At council’s meeting earlier in the day, Fox said that with so many children using 29 Avenue council has an obligation to examine ways to improve safety.
Council supported his motion for a staff report.
ROBERTSON CRESCENT CONCERNS
In related news, Robertson Crescent is a fairly straight country road that runs from 240 Street to 264 Street. Running east-west, Robertson Crescent forms intersections at two busy north-south roads, namely 248 Street and 256 Street, both of which have the right of way; traffic on Robertson Crescent is controlled with stop signs.
On Monday, Councillor Bob Long presented a motion that calls for the intersections of Robertson Crescent and 248 and 256 Streets to be controlled by a four-way stop sign system.
Some motorists, another councillor remarked, stop on Robertson Crescent and, believing an intersection is controlled by four-way stops signs, proceed through it without looking.
RCMP have not said that that was the case in a fatal crash a year ago.
On Feb. 18, 2011, an 18-year-old Calgary woman was traveling east on Robertson Crescent when the Mustang hardtop she was driving was struck by a garbage truck that was going north on 256 Street.
The woman’s cousin, 12-year-old Coleton Nelson, was killed instantly.
Next week, Long will ask his council colleagues to support his bid for a staff report to examine the feasibility of controlling the intersections of Robertson Crescent at 248 and 256 Streets with four-way stops.