Crosswalk coming to Lees Avenue following pedestrian safety concerns
Coun. David Chernushenko says crossing will be operational in time for the new school year
Pedestrians feeling overwhelmed by an increase in traffic on Lees Avenue due to LRT construction will get some relief thanks to a new crosswalk, but it won't be up and running until September.
With some OC Transpo buses re-routed to Lees and commuters adjusting to detours and changes in downtown traffic because of construction, Capital ward Coun. David Chernushenko has been hearing from worried residents who live and work on Lees.
"Not only have I heard concerns, I had them myself, even just sort of in theory when we saw what the plans were for a large number of buses mixing in with the ongoing traffic in that area as part of the ongoing changes to routes with the LRT," he said.
Only one set of traffic lights for pedestrians
The stretch of road leading east to the University of Ottawa's Lees Campus has high-rise apartment buildings on either side, but only one set of traffic lights for pedestrians to cross, and that's closer to the campus.
"The only way I can cross the street is to either go there (the lights), or I cross it while the cars are driving down. So yeah, it's kind of dangerous," said Jack Lau, also visiting a friend.
The solution is putting in a crosswalk to ease those fears, according to Chernushenko. "We've got a lot of people who traditionally cross the street just by looking both ways and walking across. That's not normally a big deal with typical conditions," he said, "But now that we've got large numbers of buses mixed in, and all kinds of detours, a crosswalk and an official crossing is actually called for."
Crosswalk a 'brilliant idea'
Lau calls the plan to install a new crosswalk a "brilliant idea." Work will begin in the summer, and the goal is to have it operational in time for the new school year in September.
"The city hasn't turned a blind eye, but on the other hand to put in a proper crosswalk with all the right markings, signals, etc., takes time to design, tender, and build. It's going forward as quickly as possible."