• John Jantak

Pincourt will not restore pedestrian crosswalk stop signs


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt resident Pierre Giasson watches for traffic as he crosses Boulevard Cardinal-Léger on December 11. Giasson and several other residents requested Mayor Yvan Cardinal to restore the stop signs that were removed by the town three weeks citing pedestrian safety concerns.

The Town of Pincourt has said it will not reinstall a pair of stop signs at a crosswalk on Boulevard Cardinal-Léger despite pleas made by area residents to officials that the signs should be restored for safety reasons, during the Tuesday evening council meeting held December 10.

Resident Pierre Giasson, who lives near the crosswalk on Cardinal-Léger between Avenue Monseigneur-Langlois and 8th Avenue, said he was disappointed with the town’s response. He first raised the issue during the November council session, six days before the signs were removed on November 18.

He also launched a petition that was signed by 47 residents who live on the stretch of road asking for the city to keep the stop signs.

Resident pleads with council

Giasson pleaded with council on Tuesday to reconsider their decision, saying it’s only a matter of time before a serious incident occurs. He said many motorists didn’t bother to stop when the stop signs were in place. Now that they’re gone, Giasson said motorists speed through the crosswalk even when the amber lights are flashing.

The double pair of flashing amber lights indicates that northbound and southbound motorists must slow down and come to a complete stop because a pedestrian is using the crosswalk. But the lights are reportedly problematic too. Sometimes the lights will start flashing automatically. At other times, only one pair of lights will flash in one direction while the other pair is inoperable, said Giasson.

‘Someone is going to get hit’

Giasson added the town seems to have forgotten its history. He recalled that Trotter Park, which is on the east side of Cardinal-Léger at the crosswalk and houses a self-service library, was named for a child who was hit by a car and killed in the vicinity about 45 years ago.

Kerry Kenemy, who has a seven-year-old child and also lives on Cardinal-Léger about seven houses away from the crosswalk, agreed Giasson’s assessment.

“It’s easy to say drivers aren’t respecting the law,” Kenemy told The Journal after the meeting. “I understand that. We’re not naive. We all drive. We all know the habits drivers have. The big picture is that someone is going to get hit. Something is going to happen.”

Relentless rush hour traffic

Now that the stop signs are gone, it has become more difficult for Kenemy and his neighbours to exit their driveways onto Cardinal-Léger because of the relentless volume of traffic especially during the morning and late afternoon rush hours.

“At six, seven o’clock in the morning, it’s a constant line of cars. I used to have to time the stop sign and wait for a Good Samaritan who actually stops to give me the space and time to pull out,” said Kenemy.

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal listens as residents ask council to restore the stop signs that were removed at a crosswalk on Boulevard Cardinal-Léger three weeks ago citing pedestrian safety concerns.

Provincial approval

Mayor Yvan Cardinal said the stop signs were removed because they are meant for use primarily at intersections to allow for the unimpeded flow of traffic and do not belong at a crosswalk. Cardinal added that the city had received approval from the provincial Ministry of Transport to proceed with the stop sign removal.

Giasson disputes the mayor’s claim, saying the Ministry of Transport is responsible for provincial roads and that the town’s roads are under municipal jurisdiction.

‘Crosswalk is safer now’

Mayor Cardinal maintains the crosswalk is safer now since the stop signs were removed because many people just rolled through the stops. He asserts the flashing amber lights will persuade more motorists to stop. “With the yellow lights it indicates someone is in the crosswalk and drivers will have to be more careful,” he said.

Pedestrians at the crosswalk also have a responsibility to check to make sure motorists stop at the crosswalk before they cross the street even when the yellow lights are flashing, said Cardinal.

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