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Businesses and residents located near a busy intersection in Charlottetown have petitioned city council to make some changes.
They say that the crosswalk at the Allen Street-Walthen Drive intersection is unsafe for pedestrians because it is poorly lit.
Dieter Friesen, who lives near the intersection, launched the petition which has been signed by businesses and residents in the area.
“I find it to be an unsafe intersection," Friesen said. “I find it to be poorly lit; it's not well respected by motorists. It makes it difficult for people living in this neighbourhood to cross north on Allen Street if they want to access any of the businesses."
Mike Hogan, co-owner of Upstreet Craft Brewing, there have been problems with the crosswalk for years.
“The visibility of the crosswalk is poor," said Hogan, who also lives in the area. “I experience it every day myself coming from home or coming from work. I have waved my arms, held my bag up in the air trying to get traffic to stop out of frustration because people are just cruising by.
“There have also been times when I’ve been halfway through the crosswalk and almost got hit by someone who didn’t see me even though I’m trying to be as safe as possible."
Besides the painted squares on the road itself designating it as a crosswalk, the city also put up signs on either side of the street. There is another crosswalk a block away at the lighted Sobeys intersection.
Hogan said speaking as someone who works in direct view of the crosswalk, he and his staff witness near-misses all the time between pedestrians and motorists.
Friesen, an avid walker, said the crosswalk matter is also an active transportation concern. He points out the lack of a sidewalk on the north side of Allen Street (the side where the businesses are located). He said many residents have plots at the legacy gardens behind the P.E.I. Farm Centre on University Avenue so safe access across Allen Street is a necessity.
To that point, Hogan said the city does a poor job of clearing snow on the north side of Allen Street making it challenging for anyone with mobility issues.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, who represents the area on council, said Allen Street, said one of the big problems is the extent to which the section of Allen Street between University Avenue and Mount Edward Road has grown during the past 10 to 15 years.
“Allen Street is probably the third busiest street in the city," Tweel said. “It’s the main east-west connector when you’re travelling from the old city to the Civic Centre, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the race track or even heading toward Stratford. It is an extremely busy street. The concerns from the residents are not only valid, they’re correct."
Hogan and Friesen want the city to enhance the lighting at the crosswalk and even consider flashing lights or an overhead flashing bar, similar to the one located where Allen Street intersects with the Confederation Trail.
“Some manner of pedestrian-controlled lighting would help quite a bit," Friesen said. “I think (we need) just something to remind drivers that it is their duty to respect crosswalks and respect pedestrians as they are going about their day."
Following are the businesses and organizations calling on the City of Charlottetown to make enhancements at the Allen Street-Walthen Drive intersection:
- Mitch Cobb and Mike Hogan, Upstreet Craft Brewing
- Greg McQuaid, McQuaid’s Trucking and Warehousing
- Chaylon Brewster, Most Wanted Jewellery and Pawn
- Marcia Carroll, P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities
- Petition is also signed by 32 residents who live near the intersection
Tweel said he supports the petition and is calling on the public works department and Charlottetown Police Services to engage a traffic engineer to study the issue with the Allen Street-Walthen Drive crosswalk.
Dave Stewart is The Guardian's municipal reporter.