Waterloo Regional Council voted unanimously on Thursday to delay the construction of a controversial roundabout at Franklin Boulevard and Saginaw Parkway in Cambridge, after the community voiced its concerns over pedestrian safety and the traffic circle's proximity to two nearby schools.

"I think there would be too many accidents," Eric Higgins, who often travels through the bustling intersection while on the job, said. "Especially with the kids, we have a school over there and we have St. Benedict's over here, I don't think it's a good idea."

The proposed roundabout would be built at one of Cambridge's busiest intersections, which sees a steady crush of cars, trucks and people. But of particular concern to the community are the students nearby St. Margaret Catholic Elementary and St. Benedict's Catholic Secondary schools, who regularly cross the street at the intersection throughout the day.

"It's extremely dangerous for the high school kids trying to cross to the plaza," nearby resident Trish Armstrong said, raising her voice to be heard over the rumble of traffic at the intersection. "People don't know how to use [roundabouts] and Franklin is way too busy," she said.

Pedestrian safety concerns

That concern is echoed by regional councillor Sean Strickland, who convinced regional council Thursday evening to accept his proposal to delay the construction of the Franklin and Saginaw roundabout until at least 2017 — after other planned roundabouts can be evaluated.

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Regional councillor Sean Strickland convinced his colleagues vote to unanimously to delay construction of the Franklin/Saginaw roundabout to study the installation of a pedestrian bridge in order to keep students from two nearby schools safe from traffic.

"My whole goal in this, with this roundabout at St. Benedict's, is pedestrian safety," he said Thursday, following the unanimous council vote. 

Strickland's motion also asks regional staff to examine the cost of building pedestrian bridges at any future roundabout at Franklin and Saginaw, as well as a number of other traffic circles, including Homer Watson and Block Line in Kitchener, near St Mary's high school.

However, Strickland believes that could be a costly option.