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School zone traffic suggestions stir up controversy
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 20 octobre 2011

Councillor Peter McQueen is suggesting the implementation of what he calls a “real” school safety zone on Terrebonne between Girouard Ave. and Cavendish Boul. by reprogramming the traffic lights at Grand Boulevard and Draper Ave. to flashing reds. The change would then allow the installation of stop signs at Royal and Kensington, since normally stop signs are not allowed so close to regular traffic lights.

The proposal is an effort to “slow and regularize” traffic on the stretch, which includes the St. Monica and Willingdon schools as well as Benny and William-Hurst parks.

With the June death of a toddler at Grand Boulevard and Terrebonne Rd. in close memory, and the accumulation of complaints about the intersections near William-Hurst Park, pedestrian safety has become an emotional issue in the area.

McQueen supports grassroots anti-speeding measures such as area resident Lynda Fortier’s proposal for a stop sign at Kensington and Terrebonne.

Yet borough mayor Michael Applebaum and Loyola councillor Susan Clarke implied that McQueen is jumping the gun with precocious recommendations at a borough meeting October 3.

Both Applebaum and Loyola District councillor Susan Clarke cited the importance of consulting of traffic experts before making any proposals on the subject. But Clarke could not be reached for further comments before going to press.

SPVM sociocommunity officer Ann-Nathalie Coté concurs, insisting that if new traffic control measures are to be added, they will have to be deemed necessary and feasible through analysis by traffic authorities.

She cites the enforcement of speed limits on Grand Boulevard and the SPVM’s driver awareness campaigns at the beginning of each school year as some official responses to the issue. “We would never trivialize the accidents, but an analysis was done, conclusions were made. We focus on prevention and raising awareness.”

There are also several smaller school zones in the vicinity, but St. Monica’s cross guard feels there is still a major safety issue. As she escorts several children across the intersection of Royal and Terrebonne, a four-way stop, she laments. “There is a crosswalk here, but nobody stops. It’s dangerous for them and it’s dangerous for me. Sometimes the cars go behind me while I’m in the middle of the intersection,” she says.

The traffic lights one block west on Terrebonne means that drivers who accelerate to get through yellow light are still travelling at a high speed when they pass the crosswalk at Royal. The William- Hurst Park resident’s association said that the traffic light at Grand Boulevard offers better protection for crossing children than a stop sign.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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