The Telegram (St. John's)

Residents concerned about danger of C.B.S. crosswalk

Video sparks outrage from Conception Bay South residents worried about dangers of Manuels crosswalk

- ROSIE MULLALEY MUNICIPAL REPORTER rosie.mullaley@thetelegra­ @Telyrosie

The dash-cam video would make even the most composed person cringe.

A speeding car whips past another on a busy four-lane Conception Bay Highway in Manuels and through a crosswalk, coming close to children on bicycles.

Since Josh Durdle posted it on the Conception Bay South Community Voice Facebook page Tuesday, it’s been shared more than 520 times and garnered more than 220 comments from people expressing outrage at not only the careless driver, but about the crosswalk, which they believe is poorly located and dangerous.

Durdle said that, while he’s surprised by the attention the video has received, he’s not surprised by people’s concern about the crosswalk, as it’s been ongoing for many years.

“I guess seeing a video of children almost getting hit by a vehicle is more effective than just reading a post written by someone asking for change,” Durdle told The Telegram Friday. “The Town of C.B.S. has known about this dangerous crosswalk for many years. For some reason, town employees and councillor­s keep ignoring the issue.”

The crosswalk extends from the Manuels River overflow parking lot, near the Irving gas station, to the other side, near the Manuels River Interpreta­tion Centre and the Easons Road turnoff.

There are yellow pedestrian signs on both sides for both directions, but they are often not heeded.

Albert Wakely, a taxi driver who lives in C.B.S., said it’s often difficult to spot the crosswalk because of the grade of the road.

“It’s a very, very unsafe place,” said Wakely, a father of four. “It’s even worse at night.”

When asked about the video, he said, “It was horrible. I literally held my breath because I honestly thought the kids were going to get knocked down.”

Melanie Kelly Dwyer said drivers turning right from Topsail Road at the Manuels bridge, as well as drivers coming straight from Peacekeepe­rs Highway, accelerate once past the bridge.

“It’s really just a matter of time before someone is hurt or killed there,” said Kelly, a mother of a toddler, noting she had a close call at that crosswalk just last week.

“It was scary (to see that video). I refuse to use (the crosswalk) anymore until change happens. It just isn’t worth the fear.”

That change is coming, C.B.S. Mayor Terry French said. He just doesn’t know when.

He said council has discussed the issue, and a light will be installed at the crosswalk. However, there’s a long wait time for steel, which is a worldwide issue, he said.

“The wait is six to nine months,” French said. “It’s safe to say it won’t be done for this summer, unfortunat­ely.”

But he said council is determined to make it happen and will use $120,000 from its multiyear capital works funding for the light installati­on. He said the plan has been sent to the provincial government for approval. The job will then go to public tender.

French said council has been in discussion­s with Harboursid­e Engineerin­g on the design, along with other considerat­ions such as the proximity to the light at the intersecti­on by the bridge, the merging lane at the bridge, as well as the Easons Road exit.

“Council has struggled with this because of all the dynamics at play here,” he said.

He said taking the crosswalk out altogether is not an option, as there is too much pedestrian traffic in that area. A pedway would be far too expensive, he said.

However, French did note pedestrian­s are encouraged to take the trail under the bridge to reach the other side of the highway.

In the meantime, he said council will look into having more signage installed at the location to give drivers more notificati­on, in the hope that drivers will slow down and be more aware.

 ?? KEITH GOSSE • THE TELEGRAM ?? Pedestrian­s use a crosswalk on a four-lane section of the Conception Bay Highway near the Manuels River Interpreta­tion Centre Friday afternoon.
KEITH GOSSE • THE TELEGRAM Pedestrian­s use a crosswalk on a four-lane section of the Conception Bay Highway near the Manuels River Interpreta­tion Centre Friday afternoon.

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