Make Rawlin's Cross Safe for Children: School Crossing Guard & Pedestrian Lights!

Make Rawlin's Cross Safe for Children: School Crossing Guard & Pedestrian Lights!

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Rhona Buchan started this petition to City of St.John's and

Make Rawlin's Cross Safe for Children: this traffic pilot is dangerous for school children. Parents are frightened. We are not prepared to wait for harm to come to one of our children or families. We call for:

1. AN IMMEDIATE SOLUTION:    Pedestrian traffic lights, using the existing lights to stop traffic, would address safety concerns immediately.  This does not need to be a return to the previous traffic configuration. Traffic Lights could be re-programmed. Any safety improvement that may have been proven by the traffic pilot could be incorporated.

2. INTERIM SAFETY MEASURES:  Failing immediate re-employment of the pedestrian lights, we call for interim safety measures to be in place when our children return to school at Bishop Feild Elementary School on Bond Street on January 6th 2020. This includes

  1. At least one School Crossing Guard located at Rawlin’s Cross.
  2. Signage that it is a “School Area” with “Children Crossing”
  3. Interim solar beacons in a location that will help protect our children. Note: The proposed location of the beacons as part of the pilot would direct our children & families INTO one of the most dangerous areas of the traffic pilot, the 3 lane intersection of King's Road & Military Road, in which the sightline of the west lane is obscured

3. LONG-TERM PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: The safety of children and all pedestrians, must be given balanced consideration to vehicles in the long-term, final solution. This traffic pilot is designed for the benefit of vehicles, at the cost of people. We call for formal community engagement specific to Pedestrian Safety at Rawlin’s Cross, in view to designing the safest possible long-term solution.

WHY IS THE SAFETY OF SCHOOL CHILDREN A CONCERN?
Bishop Feild Elementary School on Bond Street is 200 -300 metres from Rawlin’s Cross. Bishop Field closed unexpectedly on October 23rd 2017 and is due to re-open on January 6th 2020.  Since the school closed, the City of St. John’s has removed all the traffic lights at Rawlin’s Cross & implemented a pilot traffic pattern. The traffic pilot puts our school children and families at risk.  

FACTS:

  1. There are 8 feeder roads: Queens Road, Prescott St, Flavin Street, Kings Road, Military Road (east side), Rennie’s Mill Road, Monkstown Road and Military Road (west side);
  2. The City removed all the traffic lights;
  3. There are 12 unmonitored cross walks amid a continuous, counter-clockwise flow of traffic;
  4. The momentum of the traffic increases as drivers become familiar with the traffic pilot.
  5. Some cross walks direct people through the middle of the traffic “circle” instead of the periphery, as is customary. These are high risk cross walks. 
  6. Drivers are regularly failing to yield to pedestrians on cross walks, in violation of HTW s.125. This offence has a fine of $100-$400 (with 2-14 days jail as default), yet it is not being enforced. 
  7. Bishop Feild pedestrian parents have been hit by vehicles at Rawlin's Cross.  
  8. Rawlin's Cross is beside schools & Bannerman Park's beautiful new children's facilities, the playground, swimming pool, splash pad & the Loop, and yet it is simply not safely navigable by a child.
  9. Rawlin's Cross is a particularly heavy pedestrian area used by many school children. Schools to which children walk are: Bishop Feild Elementary School, Brother Rice Junior High School, St. Bonaventure's College, and Holy Heart High School.
  10. The City has turned down parents’ requests for a School Crossing Guard to assist children in navigating Rawlin’s Cross. The risk to our children is not acceptable to parents.
  11. The City is planning to install pedestrian operated solar beacons at Kings Road and Military Road.  This is a location that we fear will direct our children into danger, rather than protect them. Beacons will provide a false sense of security, directing children into the middle of the traffic circle, at a point where traffic is gaining momentum, and sight-lines are obscured by a building. That cross walk has not traditionally been heavily used by our school population. Families have historically preferred to cross Military Road at Moo Moos. 

ALL PEDESTRIAN SAFETY IS A CONCERN!  Rawlin’s Cross is Not Accessible. Not Inclusive. Not a “Green” solution.

  1. Rawlin's Cross is a downtown residential neighbourhood in which many residents do not have vehicles or chose to walk; And yet the traffic pilot is designed to favour vehicles at the cost of people;  
  2. There is residential housing at the centre of the traffic configuration, and some of the residents have disabilities.  The residents cannot leave home without using one of the cross walks that leads them through the dangerous centre of the configuration.  At least one physically disabled resident has been hit by a vehicle. 
  3. This traffic pilot makes Rawlin’s Cross disproportionately dangerous for people with disabilities; 
  4. Rawlin’s Cross is now inaccessible to anyone with a visual impairment: It is impossible for a visually impaired person to make eye contact with drivers as a safety measure. There should be light & sound assisted crossings.   
  5. Community agencies in the area with significant pedestrian populations include Stella Burry Community Services, the Gathering Place, the Lantern and the Association for New Canadians.
  6. Rawlin's Cross is also a downtown business area in which businesses rely on customers walking through the intersection. 
  7. Drivers regularly report that navigating the traffic pilot is too demanding of their attention, and they cannot reliably see all pedestrians. 
  8. The Telegram (Nov 25, 2019) published 44 complaints of near misses and accidents that were reported to the City.  Our community knows that near misses are a regular occurrence and many are not reported. Near misses are an indicator of likelihood of harm.  Please report all near misses to 311.
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