Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener intersection where cyclist hit to get pedestrian island this fall

The spot where a popular cycling trail meets Victoria Street S. in Kitchener will see the completion of a long-awaited safety upgrade this fall.

Cyclist airlifted to hospital after crash with car on Victoria Street South in Kitchener

The spot where a popular cycling trail meets Victoria Street S. in Kitchener will see the completion of a long-awaited safety upgrade this fall. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

The spot where a popular cycling trail meets Victoria Street S. in Kitchener will see the completion of a long-awaited safety upgrade this fall.

On Monday, a cyclist and car collided where the Iron Horse Trail meets Victoria Street S. The 22-year-old cyclist was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital.

Debbie Chapman is the city councillor for the area where the crash happened. She said she's heard from people in the area that both the Iron Horse Trail intersections at Victoria and Glasgow Streets are dangerous. 

A "refuge island," which is a concrete pad placed in the middle of an intersection where pedestrians and cyclists can stop, was scheduled to be built in the intersection. It's not yet complete.

It's expected that the safety upgrade will be completed this fall as part of the City of Kitchener's $2.65 million improvements to the Iron Horse Trail. 

"It's really important to make sure these intersections are safe," said Chapman. She says she still plans to raise the safety of the intersection at a neighbourhood committee meeting.

Signs are posted at the trail, encouraging people to cross at the light-controlled intersection where Victoria Street meets West Avenue.

However, painted asphalt on the trail leads people to cross two lanes of traffic at an uncontrolled intersection. 

Survey found cyclists cut across

In January 2018, the City of Kitchener announced plans to make the crossing safer. The city surveyed 900 trail users, and said 70 per cent reported cutting directly across the road, with only 20 per cent using the light-controlled intersection. Another 10 percent used other methods of crossing.

The City of Kitchener's Director of Transportation Services Barry Cronkite said the pedestrian island solution was "included in the Iron Horse Trail improvement strategy. It was included as a revisional item because we didn't know if we had secured sufficient funding, but since that time, we have."

Bob Henderson, the manager of transportation engineering with the Region of Waterloo, said the island should reduce crashes.

"Studies and research done on pedestrian refuge islands show a significant safety benefit in collision-reduction benefit for pedestrians," said Henderson.  "We've seen collision reductions of up to 70 [to] 80 percent." 

Henderson says the islands make it easier for pedestrians to concentrate on one direction at a time when crossing.

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