How many years can it take for a local government to ensure a traffic intersection is safe for the community and children to navigate? For some Lynn Valley residents, the answer is fifteen years and counting. After over a decade of flooding the councillors with emails and pleading with the staff, the residents living close to the intersection of William Avenue and 29th Street finally got a temporary speed bump few years ago.
But even that temporary measure was removed by the District of North Vancouver because it interrupted traffic flow in the area. At a recent council meeting, citizens and parents living in the area implored the council to reinstate the bump-out and do something to address safety at an intersection where near misses are common and moms still walk their teenagers to schools.
The presentation by mothers at the council meeting were a case study of brazen bureaucratic and political neglect over something as serious as safety of children. “I sat at a council meeting nine years ago discussing the exact same topic and nothing has changed in these nine years. We finally got bumpers and those have been taken away and it’s very discouraging as citizens and as parents to know we rent. I have two kids that walk to Boundary Elementary School and I am now in my tenth year walking by kids to school because I don’t feel safe letting them cross that intersection,” said Debbie Pearmain, a mother of two who has lived in the area for 15 years.
Pearmain said she has observed too many near-misses to count on the intersection and despite many petitions, emails and presentations, there has there has been no attention paid to it by consecutive councils. “We have done petitions and we have had parents doing car counts but the sad part is that this has been going on for 15 years and traffic has quardrupled but nothing is being taken seriously. We keep getting told that we are looking into it but nothing happens. We are now placing traffic flow over the safety of kids,” she said. Another local citizen and mom,
Gillian Paton, said she walks her son to and from school as she doesn’t feel comfortable crossing this intersection. Her son is 11 years old. “Every member of my family has nearly one miss story related to this intersection, and I hear from many parents that it’s easier to drive their children to school. I understand why the removal of this bump out was made and I feel very strongly that it was the wrong choice,” she said.
Paton said the removal of the temporary speed bumps has made an already dangerous situation even more treacherous. “The unfortunate changes this summer allow two vehicles to move east bound through the intersection at the same time, with the right hand turning vehicle without stopping. We have grave concerned with the safety of pedestrians crossing this intersection and we have been writing for the last 15 years,” she said.
Paton, who chairs the PAC at the Bounday Elementary School, said she has been told the district has done several studies on this intersection and the district didn’t feel the intersection needed any change. Paton said the community and the parents overwhelmingly disagree with that assessment and the council should install pedestrian control lights as well as investigate traffic control lights on the intersection of William Avenue and 29th street.
The council voted to reinstate the temporary bump-outs and asked staff to look at further options for enhancing safety at the intersection.
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