Staff at a childcare centre that serves as a hub for children with physical disabilities say they regularly encounter safety risks when trying to take the youth on outings in Halifax.
“There’s lots of heavy trucks and cars travelling down at very fast speeds even though it’s a 50 km/h zone, it doesn’t look like it,” Sarah Brown said, the director of Wee Care Developmental Centre.
Wee Care sits on the corner of Young and Barrington streets in Halifax’s north end.
Brown says it’s regular practice for staff to take children on day-trips but to do so they must ride the bus, and the stop they need access to the most doesn’t have a marked crosswalk.
“Unfortunately we cannot cross the street safely to get to or from the bus when it’s coming from downtown, or into town. We don’t want to cross Barrington here because it’s not marked. There is no indication for traffic to stop if anyone’s waiting to cross,” Brown said.
Brown says the childcare centre has been advocating for a marked crosswalk to be installed by the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) but have been told there simply isn’t enough volume of pedestrians crossing there to proceed.
“A marked crosswalk is not recommended at this location due to the low pedestrian crossing volumes as well as the lack of connected pedestrian infrastructure because essentially there’s no sidewalk on the east side of Barrington Street,” said Brynn Langille, a senior communications advisor with HRM.
Brown feels there is more to that argument than just the numbers city staff are using.
“They’re saying people aren’t crossing but why would you if it’s so dangerous,” she said.
WATCH (July 26, 2019): Halifax pedestrians, cyclists say more action needed for road safety
Langille says a wide range of criteria is used by traffic staff to determine locations for marked crosswalks to be installed.
“When reviewing locations for marked crosswalks in the municipality, staff assess criteria such as pedestrian crossing volumes, pedestrian connected infrastructure, as well as roadway geometry,” she said.
Brown hopes the construction of a new apartment building across the street from the childcare centre will help increase pedestrian volume on Barrington and lead to staff reconsidering their decision.
“Density is increasing, they want to promote transit, put in a crosswalk,” Brown said.