Crossing on Erie Street by the Highbury Canco entrance has been a problem area in Leamington for several years. The area currently has a courtesy crosswalk in place, but it relies on drivers to be courteous to pedestrians on these crossings. This means that drivers are not required to stop, which has raised serious concerns for the safety of pedestrians and others sharing the road.
On Tuesday night, Leamington council met up to address this situation. It has unanimously decided to remove the courtesy crosswalk, which is also involved in a lawsuit against the municipality. The council has also decided against installing a lighted crossing in its place.
Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald thinks this decision is the right move for the community. Erie Street is a busy road with an influx of constant traffic in either direction. Every 15 minutes, two to three pedestrians cross the street between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. We are misleading pedestrians into thinking that it is a safe place to cross, when it is not, continued MacDonald.
If the council had decided to install a new and controlled crosswalk, it would have meant downsizing the roadway from four lanes to three and would have cost the city of Leamington upwards of $175,000.
In speaking with members of the community, MacDonald believes the city should not have to pay for a crossing. It should be the responsibility of businesses such as Highbury Canco, whose employees regularly need a safe and secure way to cross the street. The closest intersection with a signalized crosswalk is at Oak Street and Erie Street.
In May of 2017, an 18-year-old was killed while using the courtesy crosswalk on his way to work at Highbury Canco. A lawsuit has since been filed and Windsor lawyer Dina Mejalli, a partner at Greg Monforton & Partners, has been retained by the family of the victim. Mejalli is seeking compensation on behalf of her client against the municipality and two other individuals.
Mejalli thinks the council’s decision to remove the crosswalk altogether is unfortunate. She believes that no amount of money should hinder the safety and protection of the citizens of Leamington.
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