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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 27, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta District The Lethbrukje Herald Local news SECOND SECTION Lethbndge, Alberta, Saturday, April 27, 1974 Pages 13-2C Safe crossings campaign frustrates parents 'They won't do anything until a child is killed9 By JIM GRANT Herald Staff Writer A group of Lethbndge parents say they've written letters, organized petitions and made vocal presentations for almost 10 years to get city hall to deal with street crossing situations they feel are hazards to their school children All to no avail, the parents say They feel city council has all but ignored them Every school day, dispite their campaigning, their youngsters cross over Scenic Drive near Park Royal and Scenic Heights or cross Mayor Magrath Drive at 5th Avenue both described by the parents as hazards The parents say they've reached the end of their tether "They (city aldermen) just don't want to listen to one mother told The Herald Another said "They're not going to do anything about the crossing until someone's kid gets killed. I pray that it won't be mine A parent whose child has to cross Mayor Magrath Drive says if the residential area to the east of the intersection on 5th Avenue S and Mayor Magrath Drive "had just one council member elected from this area we would at least have someone to fight for us She suggested the city aldermen should take 10 minutes out of their schedule and "try to cross the intersection so they can see the dangers The city established an ad-hoc committee to look into pedestrian crossings in the city in an effort to appease the separate school board and parents who were requesting the construction of a pedestrian overpass at Mayor Magrath The committee's report, which was presented to city council and adopted as the new city pedestrian crosswalk policy in March, did not specifically mention the controversial crossings on Mayor Magrath and Scenic Drive Some parents who have children who use one of the two crossings felt the city only used the ad-hoc committee and subsequent pedestrian crosswalk report as a method of "putting off" the vocal demands of a portion of the community. "The city is giving us a raw deal I guess our only recourse is the election (for aldermen) next one angry young mother suggests Another parent says "You tell them (aldermen) things and it goes in one ear and out the other. They're supposed to be serving the people but they're not A mother who has three children crossing one of the controversial intersections says the city spends all "sorts of money on things that are more including driving conveniences for motorists but continues to ignore the safety of children "Our children should count for she says A petition presented to city council last year by parents whose children cross 5th Avenue and Mayor Magrath Drive requested the construction of an overpass at the intersection and parents in the Park Royal area petitioned for an underpass to allow their children to cross Scenic Drive in safety However, the parents say they only requested the overpass and underpass as the ultimate method of providing their children with a safe crossing They were prepared to accept any immediate safety measure that would make the crossing of the two major roadways less dangerous Most parents contacted by The Herald were not sure what safety measure would be the most feasible for the controversial crossings but they thought a flashing amber light along with larger school zone signs would provide for a much safer crossing The school crossing on Scenic Drive and 15th Street S Park Royal parents say, is hazardous because it crosses a roadway used by both trucks and cars as a 40-mile-an-hour bypass of the downtown area. Motorists and truckers are unable to see the crossing until they are almost upon it because of a curve in the Scenic Controversial Scenic Drive crossing 40 mph speed limit keeps school patrol and pedestrians on their toes BILLGROENEN photos Stranded Pedestrian couldn't make it across Mayor Magrath Drive before light turned. Drive roadway in both directions from the crossing There are small school zone signs warning motorists of the crossing but they have been placed among several signs and as a result do not stand out to a motorist travelling the speed limit To prevent youngsters from carelessly crossing the intersection, the Agnes Davidson School operates a school patrol at the intersection during school crossing hours However, the patrol doesn't attempt to stop vehicle traffic It simply waits until traffic cannot be seen approaching the intersection from either direction and then advises the students that it is safe for them to cross if they hurry The captain of the Grade 6 school patrol says there are a few "maniac" motorists who speed through the crossing but most drivers are courteous and slow down when they see the school patrol Erie Tudor, 12, says when drivers "try to pass another car in front of the patrol, it really bugs you A Herald check of Scenic Drive between the 16th Avenue and 15th Street S exits noted motorists ignoring the solid double line and overtaking other vehicles On one occasion a semi- trailer truck was passing a large farm truck at the point where children who live in the Scenic Heights Apartments cross Scenic Drive to meet the school bus The check also revealed that most motorists slowed down when they spotted the school patrol at the 15th Street intersection but very few slowed down for the children who crossed Scenic Drive at the 16th Avenue exit Parents from the area who expressed their concern to The Herald suggested a flashing amber light and school zone markings should be situated so they serve both the children from Scenic Heights and Park Royal. The parents also believe most motorists would slow down earlier than they do if they were given earlier notice of the crossing They question whether a motorist would be able to stop for a youngster crossing Scenic Drive during icy road conditions if the motorist was travelling the speed limit and didn't begin to slow down prior to spotting the youngster About 70 school students cross Scenic Drive between the 15th S'reet and 16th Avenue exits each day The motorists who run amber and red lights and the short period of time pedestrians are allowed by the lights to cross the intersection before traffic starts moving are the major hazards facing children who have to cross the Mayor Magrath Drive and 5th Avenue S intersection about four times a day A 20-mmute check taken between 8 a m and 8 20 a m showed one vhicle running the amber light and another going through the intersection just after the light turned red Two youngsters on bikes also crossed the intersection 10 seconds after the light turned to "don't walk And two students ran through the intersection 15 seconds after the light turned to "don't walk During the 20 minutes, 54 youngsters crossed the intersection The students only have about 27 seconds to cross the intersection from the time the light turns to "walk" until the traffic begins to move in their direction They only have 20 seconds to cross if they begin crossing during the last second of the light's "walk" phase A few of the younger students had to run through the intersection in order to cross before the traffic began to move City records show a crossing of 80 feet wide should provide pedestrians with 31 8 seconds to cross The walk indicator is to be on for seven seconds, another 20 seconds should elapse before the light turns amber and another 4 8 seconds before it turns red. Three elderly people told The Herald that when the streets are icy they can only get to the median at the intersection before traffic begins to move m their direction One elderly woman said most motorists wait for her to cross even if they have a green light but the situation becomes hazardous when there is a car in each of the three lanes "You don't know if the driver in the third car has seen you or she says Some parents are even afraid to cross the intersection themselves so they drive their youngsters across Mayor Magrath Drive rather than walk across with them The parents in the residential area to the east of Mayor Magrath Drive claim they first began to petition city hall about 10 years ago" when 408 signatures requested a safer pedestrian crossing City aldermen are willing to spend money to make driving more convenient for motorists but they stubbornly refuse to consider the pedestrian, said one bitter mother 'It gets very discouraging after awhile she said Patrol on duty at Scenic Drive crossing near Park Royal Meanwhile city promises light co-ordination, traffic count By ANDY OGLE Herald Staff Writer A fully signalized intersection with pedestrian lights is the safest possible system that can be used at any crossing, says city traffic co-ordmator Peter Bowkett Utilized correctly by both pedestrians and motorists, there could not be a safer crossing, he says of the Mayor Magrath Drive and 5th Avenue S crossing that has so aroused the ire of neighborhood parents And synchornization of the traffic lights on Mayor Magrath Drive, which is to be carried out as soon as equipment ordered for the job arrives, should further help the situation, he says. Motorists travelling the posted limit will get all green lights, reducing driver frustration and the temptation to run amber lights, he said Traffic counts, he said, will again be taken at the intersection as they are every summer to determine if any changes in signals are needed and to check the pedestrian light phase Mr Bowkett says a pedestrian crossing Mayor Magrath Drive at the intersection would havp at least 26 4 seconds to make the crossing 6.4 seconds start time and 20 seconds clearance after the light has switched to "don't walk A traffic count taken last August at the intersection showed 595 vehicles went through the intersection north or south-bound on Mayor Magrath Drive between 8 and 8-30 a m a time when many children would be crossing the street during the school year Concerning the other controversial intersection at Scenic Drive and 15th Street S the traffic co-ordmator said counts would be taken this summer and the type of pedestrian facility warranted by the counts would be put in According to the pedestrian crossings policy devised by the traffic advisory committee and adopted by council, the top flight crossing labelled a pedestrian corridor would be warranted there if a minimum of 50 elementary school students and 100 vehicles or any similar combination of students and vehicles, such as 10 students and 500 vehicles use the intersection, in a peak half-hour A pedestrian corridor, according to the policy, has a flashing amber light and a 20-m p h when-flashing sign some 145 feet in front of the crossing, and a cross-hatched crossing with an over-head pedestrian "X" and amber flashing light The lights are set flashing by a crossing button and -the policy states such crossings immediately adjacent to a school must be regulated by a school patrol during normal school crossing hours It also recommends use of school patrols at any corridor where a significant number of elementary school children cross If the Scenic Drive intersection does not meet the requirements for a pedestrian corridor, a school crosswalk, consisting of a cross- hatched crosswalk and "School X signs could be put in School crosswalks, says the policy, can be installed on artenals and major collectors (such as Scenic Drive) in the vicinity of a school where a school patrol operates but where the warrant for a pedestrian corridor is not met ;