Thursday, October 12, 2006

an article to get things going

Community must improve safety on Governor's Road
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News

(Sep 29, 2006)
Pedestrian safety on Governor's Road, where a 15-year-old Highland student was hit by a car last week, is a community issue and not a school issue, Highland principal Kathy Starodub said this week.

She said the community must work together to create effective traffic controls and educate pedestrians.

"It's a problem. If you drive around teenagers, you know their awareness is only of themselves," Ms. Starodub said. "It's not just Highland."

Police said last week an investigation found pedestrian error was to blame for the car-pedestrian collision.

The 15-year-old stepped onto Governor's Road, at Huntingwood Drive, without checking for traffic first.

An elderly driver had no time to react. Police said he would not be charged. The boy was taken to hospital with head injuries. His only contact with the car was the windshield striking his head, according to police.

Both police and the school would not release the boy's name.

Ms. Starodub said Tuesday he had been released from hospital and was improving at home.
As of last week, police reported he was speaking a bit and could squeeze his hand when asked.

"Students from the food and nutrition class he's in are making meals for the family," Ms. Starodub said. "His siblings are back at school.

"Our interests and energies are focussed on the boy, and not traffic patterns."

But she said the issue of pedestrian safety did come up at a Highland parent council meeting one day after the accident. She said parents have some concerns, particularly with the expected increase in traffic brought by a new elementary school planned to open down the road from Highland in September 2007.

"They'll take those concerns to the city," Ms. Starodub said.

And the school continues talking to students about traffic safety, obeying basic rules and not crossing in the middle of a block. Ms. Starodub said pedestrian awareness and education is an ongoing effort at the school.

But Highland's principal said the community, and the city, can assist.

She pointed to a city bus stop across the street from Highland that is at the middle of the block.
Despite the school's efforts, Ms. Starodub said, students continue to walk across busy Governor's Road from the bus stop, rather than walking to the corner and crossing at the traffic light.

"The easy answer is move the bus stop to the corner," she said.

Dundas city councillor Art Samson has asked staff to look into the possibility of a roundabout on Governor's Road, a flashing light school zone around the three schools, and a review of crossing guards in the area.

But the safety enhancements will be delayed at least until next year. City council only meets once more before the municipal election, and none of the proposed projects has been budgeted for.

Ed Switenky, manager of traffic engineering and operations, couldn't comment on any short-term improvements the city might be able to make to Governor's Road - in light of last week's accident.

"We haven't reviewed the accident report from the police," Mr. Switenky said.

Police report

When that police report is received, he said staff will review it and consider improvements. Mr. Switenky said the same thing is done with all collision reports.

Constable Phil Cranmer investigated the collision that sent the 15-year-old Highland student to hospital.

He said increasing development around Governor's Road and a 650-student school will create a "terrible mess" on Governor's Road.

"Something has to be done," he said.

According to the City of Hamilton's planning and development department, there are 237 housing units currently proposed for construction just north or south of Governor's Road.
Const. Cranmer said Hamilton Police will be directly involved in pedestrian safety on Governor's Road.

"We'll be writing reports, and scraping bodies off the road," he said.

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