Crosswalk talk

Residents who want better pedestrian safety on Thorburn Road attend council meeting

Colin MacLean
Published on July 11, 2012
St. John’s Coun. Debbie Hanlon presented a petition to council Tuesday for residents who want more pedestrian safety on Thorburn Road. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

People living near the busy road where one of MUN’s star athletes was killed late last month continued Tuesday night to press their case for a crosswalk in their neighbourhood.

About 20 residents of Wigmore Court, off Thorburn Road across from Tim Hortons, attended the regular St. John’s city council meeting.

Their ward councillor, Debbie Hanlon, had invited them to come to be reassured council was taking their request seriously.

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe addressed the crowd first thing Tuesday night.

O’Keefe told them council is waiting on the official RNC report on the collision before it makes any decisions.

“Once that report is received, any alterations that are needed to ensure more safety in that area — decisions will be made very quickly by this council in that regard. And I want to assure them of that,” said O’Keefe.

Hanlon presented a petition to council, given to her by the residents, which demanded that a crosswalk with lights be installed on Thorburn Road in the area between the Tim Hortons and the nearby North Atlantic Orange Store.

Hanlon said she wasn’t sure how many signatures were on the petition, but said it was at least several pages worth of names of residents.

June Sharpe is one of the women spearheading the effort to get the crosswalk installed.

She said she was happy with what she heard Tuesday night.

“It’s pretty good. I think they’re going to do something about it. For sure,” she said after Hanlon presented their petition.

Sharpe and several supporters have held protests along Thorburn Road to reinforce their cause.

She expressed surprise Tuesday that others feel the same way she does about the road.

“I’ll be honest with you, I was going to do this myself,” she said.

“But a couple of the girls said, ‘Come on, we’ll do it,’” and it grew from there, she added.

The lobby for a crosswalk along this busy section of road was galvanized by the death of 21-year-old Erin Bursey.

The St. John’s resident was a promising student, athlete and captain of Memorial University’s women’s volleyball team.

Bursey was hit by a minivan while crossing Thorburn Road and succumbed to her injuries a few days later.

Residents who live near where the young woman died say their neighborhood has been developing rapidly and signage and measures are not enough to control the rise of pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area.

Sharpe vowed to have something done to improve safety in the area — come hell or high water.

“This is very pressing, and if they don’t do anything about it we’ll be out again with our signs. Something has to be done about it,” she said.

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean