Hamilton

'Someone is going to get hurt or worse': Video shows drivers roll through red light

Members of Environment Hamilton are raising the alarm after they captured a video showing several vehicles rushing through a red light Monday.

People are 'just deciding to gun it through the intersection,' says Lynda Lukasik

A video shot by Environment Hamilton Monday shows several vehicles rolling through a red light outside city hall, including this hatchback that continued to creep up as a man with a walker used the crosswalk. (Environment Hamilton/Twitter)

Lynda Lukasik doesn't feel safe crossing Main Street in Hamilton and figures she's not alone.

The director of Environment Hamilton is speaking out after sharing a video on Twitter that shows several vehicles rushing through a red light Monday.

It shows three vehicles, including a black car that speeds by, rolling through the light at the intersection of Main Street and Summers Lane as it changes to red and pedestrians wait.

Then, as a woman and a man with a walker make their way across the road, a black hatchback waiting in the middle of the intersection continues to creep forward — all the while the light remains red.

"Someone is going to get hurt or worse," the tweet reads.

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Edward Soldo, director of transportation operations for the city, said staff are aware of the concerns and working with police to "increase enforcement of red light running" at the intersection.

Lukasik had her own experience with impatient drivers Monday.

While walking over to city hall for a budget meeting that same day, she says cars tried to beat the light at that same intersection, leaving her feeling unsafe even though the white, walk signal was on.

"I kid you not, I felt like a crossing guard," she explained. "I had to put my hand up, look at the people and say 'Stop, don't keep coming through. I am crossing the street now.'"

During the meeting she sat by a window and watched the same thing happen "over and over and over," especially during rush hour.

Lukasik said she saw vehicles continue through the intersection even when it was clear pedestrians had the right of way.

"This is crazy. That's a pretty major intersection in our downtown core," she added. "I don't feel safe crossing there. I'm sure there are a lot of other people who share my concern."

Among those who had to scramble to cross the road were children, seniors and people using mobility devices, according to Lukasik.

"Several people have said it's really hair-raising if you have a group of kids going to an event at Hamilton Place … and they've got to get across. It's really dangerous for everybody."

Police say drivers should 'proceed with caution'

One of the vehicles seen running the red light in the video is a company car for security firm Pasword.

The president of the company said he will investigate what happened and plans to speak to the employee who was driving.

Police say they're also planning to review the video in order to "evaluate the enforcement needs."

Const. Lorraine Edwards told CBC drivers should always exercise common sense and good judgment when approaching an intersection and stop before entering it if the light is yellow.

But, she added, it is possible for vehicles to get trapped between crosswalks because of the flow of traffic or other unforeseen issues.

If that happens Edwards said drivers should drive out of the intersection while making sure to "proceed with caution." 

An 'expressway through the guts of our city'

Lukasik said she believes there must be something wrong with the design of the intersection or the synchronization of the lights that leaves drivers confused as to whether or not they should enter the intersection particularly when the road is congested.

That uncertainty can leave vehicles stranded between crosswalks while the light changes.

"I think what's happening is a lot of them are just deciding to gun it through the intersection," said Lukasik.

She says one solution could be tweaking the traffic light system or putting Main Street on a "road diet" that will slow down traffic.

"It's like a five or six-lane expressway through the guts of our city, so that's not helping."

In his statement Soldo said the city will make the intersection a priority when reviewing potential red light camera locations.

He added the signals there are synchronized with the lights at MacNab Street.

"Motorists are reminded that when they are in a queue, they should not be entering an intersection," wrote Soldo.

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