Safety solutions sought as crosswalk accidents mount

 A handful of collisions and numerous near misses involving pedestrians and vehicles during the dark winter months have politicians, community members and the RCMP searching for solutions.

The issue of pedestrian safety was raised by Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers during the Jan. 16 policing and public safety committee at the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).

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The District of Sechelt has written a letter to the Ministry of Transportation, she said, alerting them to a crosswalk at Teredo Street and Trail Avenue, where a pedestrian was hit and seriously injured by a vehicle on Dec. 16. The woman remains in hospital.

Three pedestrians have been hit at that crosswalk in the past year, Siegers told the committee members, consisting of local government, Sunshine Coast RCMP Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam, among others. “There’s lots of near misses, people jumping out of the way,” she said. “We’re looking for something for safety for pedestrians.”

Sechelt Coun. Alton Toth, meanwhile, said vehicles are running the new four-way stop at Cowrie Street and Ocean Avenue “constantly,” which is located near an elementary school, Municipal Hall and the library.

Hallam said a witness to the Dec. 16 accident approached her about finding a way of providing reflective gear to pedestrians to increase their visibility, and Hallam has alerted ICBC about the idea, in case they can participate.

The issue is an ever-present problem in Gibsons, too, said David Croal, councillor for the Town of Gibsons.

“As a community group … we really have to start hammering at people, because it’s absolutely frightening that people dress totally in black, it’s raining, so they become totally mindless and they’ll jaywalk anywhere,” he said.

“There have been cases where the only thing I’ve been able to see on people is when they lifted their foot, the sole of their foot was a little lighter than what they were wearing, and other than that they were invisible.”

Croal also suggested bringing lessons about pedestrian safety into Sunshine Coast schools. “A lot of the time it’s school kids,” he said.

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