Some students not using crosswalks

Dave Bartlett
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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.

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: St. Paul, Oderin Place

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Recent comments

  • Walker
    October 31, 2011 - 19:11

    I don't have a car so I walk a lot. Drivers in this city are so careless I can't even walk to the store less than 2 minutes away without nearly getting hit. As for intersections its the most dangerous place to cross, way safer to cross in the middle of a block when the traffic is clear.

  • tom
    October 31, 2011 - 12:03

    Drivers in NL are ridiculous. Cell phone use is a major issue, never mind just cross walks.

  • Bowden
    October 31, 2011 - 11:54

    I regularly walk my dog, and I drive to work every day halfway across the city. I use sidewalks as often as I possibly can, and certainly 100% of the time on the busy streets. I try my best to stop at crosswalks, but sometimes people do truly dart out in front of cars without any regard for traffic. If I'm cruising along Topsail Road with a speed limit of 50 kms/hour and someone jumps out in front of me, slamming on the brakes may mean I get rear-ended. I think there has to be some responsibility put on pededstrians and cyclists to watch for a SAFE time to cross the street, just as we have to watch for a SAFE time to brake suddenly. I do think the new cycling lanes around town will help though. An awful lot of bikers ride dangerously in traffic, weaving around cars.

  • anon
    October 31, 2011 - 10:08

    I agree that pedestrians need to be educated, they assume a car is going to stop and sometimes it is not possible. I have been driving and a pedestrian who was just walking down the sidewalk all of a sudden decide to cross the road in front of me without warning. I had to slam on my breaks to avoid hitting them. I have also seen them standing behind a pole, the oncoming traffic could see them, but traffic heading the same way as I was could not until they were on the street. The other problem with crosswalks is that there is not enough light on both sides of the crosswalk. The one on Harvey Rd. in front of the Paramount Building is one that comes to mind. Crosswalks should have good lighting so that drivers can see pedestrians waiting especially when they are wearing dark clothing. I agree that drivers have a responsibility, but so so pedestrians and the city.

  • Kent
    October 31, 2011 - 10:01

    Brenda, Pedestrians and cyclists make you sick??. Perhaps if you got off your fat a$$ and walked or cycled to work sometime, you might have a little more regard for other users of the road.

  • Wake UP
    October 31, 2011 - 09:59

    There should be more jay walking tickets issued for people who just walk off the sidewalk in front of your vehicle instead of walking the other 15 feet to the crosswalk. Cross walk or no, if you're walking off the sidewalk and not looking bothways before crossing, you are a GD fool. I see a lot of that going on. Because you have a cross walk dosen't mean you can't be struck by a vehicle and be killed. Just because you have a right to walk, dosen't mean you can jump in the street and everything stops in an instant. Here's a heads up; you are not stronger than steel, and if you believe you'd rather spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair to prove a point, than be stupid! How do you know if somebodys brakes won't fail? What if it's icy and the person can't stop fast enough? What about if a vehicle at the cross walk gets rear ended while trying to stop? Don't be morons and risk your life because you have the right. When I use a cross walk I stop on the sidewalk and make sure the vehicles drivers' see me and are stopped before I proceed across. Use your head! And when it says, "DON'T WALK" then it actually means don't walk!

  • Brenda
    October 31, 2011 - 09:45

    I suggest educating the PEDESTRIANS and stop making the drivers responsible for the pedestrians actions. Yes, the drivers have a responsiblilty, too. The pedestrians are just as responsible.. They have to stop and look both ways before attempting to cross and make sure they have eye contact with the drivers. Use crosswalks properly. They are just as responsible as the drivers. Pedestrians and people with bikes make me sick!!!!!!! Their attitude is 'it's the drivers fault' and that is what the legal system is teaching them. WRONG!!!

  • axle
    October 31, 2011 - 09:35

    They are trying to do on the cheap, install yellow flashing lights, push a button the lights flash people will stop.

  • John Doe
    October 31, 2011 - 07:54

    An excellent way to promote the use of crosswalks would be ticketing the drivers that fail to stop as the law states. No one bothers to use crosswalks and you can stand there waiting for 10 minute or more on a busy day and drivers refuse to stop. This is an issue all over the city, any other city town or community in the country if you fail to stop at a cross walk your looking at a fine of $150 or more. Park an RNC car by the crosswalks maybe the pedestrians will feel safe about using them I they know drivers will stop.

  • derek
    October 31, 2011 - 07:30

    It's not only school kids in school zones that need to be educated about crosswalks. Try around the malls and downtown.

  • John
    October 31, 2011 - 07:05

    Im not sure what city the person who wrote this is living in but almost none of the students are using them. Just take a drive down around the university. For every 10 students maybe 2 will use them. Drive around other schools and see just how lax these kids are on safety. Yet if we hit them due to their stupidity we get sued. it should be the other way around. They should be ticketed for jaywalking and we should be allowed to sue them. Im sick of locking up my brakes for kids that dont care

  • Kent
    October 31, 2011 - 06:49

    I walk about 45 minutes a day everyday. I would guess that 70% of drivers have no regard for pedestrians on crosswalks. I have been on crosswalks with flashing yellow lights, ones where the pedestrian pushes a button to cross, and on regular ones as well; and still, most drivers will ignore you and keep going. Police regularly make a point of having hidden traffic stops for drunk drivers and speeders. Why not for cross-walk violators as well? Pedestrian are the most vulnerable users of our roads and yet the police seem to ignore their safety entirely