Students of St. Paul’s school on Newfoundland Drive in St. John’s use a crosswalk to safely negotiate traffic following afternoon classes. Many other students cross at random locations causing safety concerns for parents and residents. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram
The city of St. John’s is still investigating whether or not a pedestrian-activated crosswalk light is needed near St. Paul’s Junior High school on Newfoundland Drive.
At last week’s city council meeting, Ward 1 Coun. Danny Breen raised the issue.
The city had a request from a resident who was concerned about the safety on two crosswalks near the school — one adjacent to the east end of its parking lot, the other nearby at Oderin Place and Newfoundland Drive.
Breen noted the school is essentially at the corner of two busy streets, with Carrick Drive on the school’s western border, and agreed to look into the matter.
“In order to put the pedestrian activated signal on (a crosswalk) our staff has to do a count and they have to see if it’s warranted under their standards,” Breen told The Telegram.
The complaint came into the city near the end of the last school year, so the city waited until school was back in to do the count.
But that’s when a bigger problem was discovered.
“When (staff) did their count they found ... there were slightly more students crossing off the crosswalks then there were (students crossing) on the crosswalks,” Breen said.
That’s when the issue became one of education. He said the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) is going to take it up with the school.
“Two crosswalk are there, they’re just not being used as they should,” said Breen. “The first thing that needs to be solved there, is we have to find some way to encourage people to use the crosswalks and to use them properly.”
He said the city would also keep an eye on the situation, but noted enforcement is the RNC’s responsibility.
Overall, Breen said crosswalk safety works both ways.
Pedestrians have to be cautious and aware of traffic and not just assume cars will stop. But he also said motorists have to take responsibility, keep an eye out for crosswalks and stop when someone is waiting by one.
“Both need to be cognizant of the other,” said Breen.