Editorial: Pedestrian safety measures needed

Recent traffic surges on a busy section of road and increased pedestrian traffic are creating the perfect conditions for a preventable tragedy in Iroquois. Since the opening of the Esso/Tim Hortons on the north side of County Road 2 across from the Iroquois Village Plaza, there is an obvious need for a signaled pedestrian crosswalk connecting the two commercial areas. Extended detours of traffic from Highway 401 via County Road 2 increase the odds that there will be a preventable collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian.

A September 13 collision just east of Iroquois resulted in an eight hour closure of the eastbound 401. From just before 8 a.m. until after 3 p.m, all eastbound 401 traffic travelled between Iroquois and Morrisburg via County Road 2. While the total increased traffic for the day was not counted, using the most recent Ministry of Transportation data we can estimate that about 3,200 additional vehicles travelled that stretch of road, through both Iroquois and Morrisburg, via the emergency route detour.

SDG Counties’ traffic counts place the Iroquois-Morrisburg section of County Road 2 at an average daily traffic rate of 4,600. The September 13 detour – while necessary – increased the traffic volume by 70 per cent. This traffic increase added to the already plentiful safety concerns for the section of County Road 2 in Iroquois. Unlike the “Street-Scaped” section of the road in Morrisburg, there are no signaled crosswalks on County Road 2 in Iroquois.

Pedestrian traffic crossing County Road 2 in Iroquois has increased in the last five years, and it will increase even more with planned development. Existing foot traffic from Ross Video and Seaway District High School will be augmented with traffic from the 260 unit subdivision to be built behind the north side commercial area. There have already been too many near-misses for pedestrians crossing the road and last week’s detour added to that peril. While there is an onus on pedestrians to observe the laws of the road for crossing safely, how can they do this with no safe place marked to do so? They can’t.

Plans have been discussed to add a crosswalk when Ross Video further expands to the former KBD Transportation property. However, that plan is in the future, and the need for pedestrian safety on this section of County Road 2 must be addressed now.

In 2022, the estimate to install a proper crosswalk with lights and paint was approximately $15,000. Even with inflation, and the need to consult with SDG Counties on the installation, the cost should not be much more than that estimate.

At the September 11 South Dundas council meeting, council agreed to repair and replace two murals at a cost of $30,000. If the money can be found and committed for a mural, surely the funding can be found – if the will is there – to improve safety. It should not take a tragedy to force action on a simple safety issue.

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