The reserved bus lane on Sherbrooke St., the closure of St. Jacques St. and other projects are making an NDG neighbourhood the biggest construction zone in the city: more traffic, more impatient motorists on Sherbrooke and an additional bus lane for pedestrians to cross at rush hour.
Traffic lights and street markings for the new bus lane need to be modified, says the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council and the Raging Grannies, in conjunction with NDG’s Green, Active, Healthy Neighbourhoods project (QVAS), the NDG Cyclist and Pedestrian Association and the NDG Citizens’ Committee.
“The City and the STM need to modify traffic lights and street markings for the new bus lane, and this is their opportunity to finally secure Sherbrooke intersections for all pedestrians. They can help make older people and those with mobility problems more independent and less isolated, and reduce the rate of pedestrian injuries and deaths on Sherbrooke Street West,” says a NDG Seniors’ Citizens council news release.
The Raging Grannies, as they call themselves, say it’s urgent that the City makes pedestrian crossings safer on busy residential streets and the commercial strip along Sherbrooke.
Current traffic light timing does not allow sufficient time for small children, older residents and people with mobility limitations to cross. That leaves pedestrians caught perilously in the middle of the intersection facing oncoming traffic when the light changes against them.
More commonly, seniors just become housebound rather than risk crossing the streets. “For years, my mother could not go to the pharmacy, the post office or the grocery store by herself, although she lived only a stone’s throw away,” said Karen Urtnowski of the NDG Senior Citizens’ Council. “It is a small obstacle that can really isolate people and make them dependent, and it also has an impact on parents who need to get around with their children.”
A number of measures are needed, including longer pedestrian intervals and painting highly visible crossing markings.
According to Urgences-santé statistics, dozens of pedestrians have been injured or killed at Sherbrooke St. intersections in NDG since 1999.
Shuffling oldsters and short-legged youngsters are preparing for an intergenerational Slow and Safe Crossing demonstration on June 5 at noon at the intersection of Sherbrooke St. and Wilson Ave.