Lower speed, crosswalks, and access to nearby park requested.
“We are here to share with you concerns of our kids’ safety,” explained Daniel Swiegocki, as he presented to St. Paul Town Council on behalf of the residents of 55 avenue. Swiegocki says the residents would like the current speed limit of 50 kms/hr reduced to 30 kms/hr.
There are many factors in asking for the reduction, says Sweigocki, “this road is busy and used not only by us, but by people to the west and east of us. Every time a car drives on this road at 50 kms/hr or even 40 kms/hr there is a risk of this car not being able to react in time, in case of a child running onto the road, after a ball or a toy. A child simple crossing the or a child swerving onto the road, while riding a bike or a scooter on the side walk.” Residents say many of the child play in the front of their yards, due to smaller than usual backyards.
“There is a curve at the end of our block, which makes driving a car at 50 kms/hr even more dangerous,” as Sweigocki explains the block in question is down from Wheeler park, where the speed limit is 30 kms/hr. Sweigocki suggests that the Town consider extending the lower speed limit to continue from Wheeler park down to 56 street.
“This is where we raise our kids, they spend a lot of time in the front yards, near the busy road. We should make sure that their safety is a priority,” Sweigocki urges Council to make the change before something tragic occurs, “every year there are kids being struck by vehicles in Canada and we have to make sure that doesn’t happen here. There is nothing more important than that.”
Couple child play with the fact that the block has no crosswalks. When faced with the fact that installing a crosswalk would take a parking spot in front of Sweigocki’s house, the resident was agreeable to that situation. Further he brought up the fact that there is a nearby park, that there is no access to. The park is designed for future development on a block up from 55 street. There are no houses build at that location yet and the children from the area of concern often wish to play at the park. However, access is through a back alley with no crosswalks or sidewalks. With a high speed limit, accessing the park could prove to be dangerous.
The residents would love to see crosswalks and access to the park; however they say a lower speed limit is the first step in making the block a safer place for children and families. “If we would have to find a balance between our concerns and [the Town’s] interests, maybe we would agree to not having a crosswalk there, but having a lower speed limit,” Swiegocki moves for Council to consider putting cost and politics aside and to think only of the safety of the children, “you get an impression [if crosswalks and access were not included] that it’s big politics and statistics that are coming into place, when they shouldn’t. The health and safety of our kids should be a total priority. There should be no statistics that come into place and no negotiations.”
We not here to stop the tragedy, we’re here to lower the risk of having a tragedy and hopefully prevent a tragedy – Daniel Swiegocki resident of 55 Avenue.
Town Council discussed the speed and crossing/access limitations on the block and agreed that it was an up and coming neighbour with a lot of future development. It was even brought up that perhaps a universal speed limit of 30 kms/hr in residential zones would be the future of St. Paul. Without going as far as to implement the extreme, Council has decided to survey to residents of the block in question, should the majority of the residents be agreeable to a reduction of the speed in that area, than Council will decide to move forward with the change.
Council directed Town Administration to carry-out the survey and return with their findings for the June 26th regular Council meeting, to allow for time to make the change before school lets out for the summer.