Most post-secondary students return to class next week. There are new measures to help keep them safe around the north Oshawa campus for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College.
The new Community Safety Zone comes after a student was struck and killed at a busy intersection near the schools.
Aakash Goel crosses the heavy-traffic intersection of Simcoe Street North and Conlin Road about six times a day. The international student says sometimes he feels like he’s taking his life into his own hands.
“I personally have experienced when people stopped close to my legs and it is really dangerous for me,” said Goel.
In December, the City of Oshawa made it a Community Safety Zone, posting signs on Conlin between Founders Drive and Bridle Road. It’s an initiative UOIT has been pushing for, for a while.
“This is a university and a college campus and as such we have students that are crossing on a regular basis. It’s a bit of a highway to be honest and we really need to slow it down,” said Steven Murphy, UOIT president and vice-chancellor.
In mid-November, UOIT student Rhyss Glenfield was struck and killed at the intersection. A memorial remains set up in his honour.
“It’s a painful process still to see and yet the good that will come out of it is ensuring that this corner is as safe as can be for years to come,” said Murphy.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Durham College.
“If you look at where we are, it’s the only place in Durham where you’d have 15,000 people in one dedicated space on any given day,” said Don Lovisa, Durham College president.
With the area being a Community Safety Zone, fines are increased for infractions.
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While this is a great first step, UOIT’s president says more still needs to be done.
“We’re talking with our partners both regionally and the city about different things you go over in your car, not speed bumps but the shaker strips that you go across. We’re talking about lights that help you slow down and realize that yes, you are in a zone. So you’re picking up more than one visual cue,” said Murphy.
The Community Safety Zone runs east and west along Conlin Road. With Simcoe Street North being a regional road, Durham Regional Chair John Henry hopes his council will be able to extend the zone north and south in the coming weeks.