Hit and run reignites crosswalk concerns

By Gordon Lambie
Hit and run reignites crosswalk concerns

Pedestrian safety is once again on the minds of the people of Lennoxville after a close-call hit-and-run on Saturday night at the crosswalk near the corner of Church and Queen Streets. The official police report of the event explains that a collision took place around 5:30pm on Saturday when a 19-year-old woman heading south on Queen hit the head of a seven year old who was crossing the street with his mother and sister. The impact took a mirror off the side of the car and left the boy with a mild concussion.

Nancy Beatty, whose son was the one hit, describes the event differently.

“It was a terrifying thing for a mother to witness,” Beatty said. “Accidents happen, and I know it’s hard to see at night sometimes, but you’d think that if you knock a seven year old boy to the ground, you’d stop.”
Beatty explained that the family ended up spending the night at the hospital carrying out various tests and evaluations to check the severity of the concussion.

“He’s a very lucky boy,” Beatty said, saying that she was a step and a half behind him at the time he was hit, and had the impression that the vehicle that hit her son was about to stop. “Something needs to be done about this, whether with the lighting or the signals.”

Three days after the accident, on Tuesday night, Karl Hunting brought the matter before the Lennoxville borough council. He emphasized that this accident and the other collision in Lennoxville that night both took place in the locations where pedestrians should be able to feel safe crossing.

“We had two accidents at two crosswalks within 20 minutes of each other on Saturday night,” Hunting said. “When are we going to do something about them not being lit?”

The outspoken Lennoxville landlord was especially critical of the fact that the dangers of Lennoxville’s crosswalks are well known; with simple solutions that no one seems able to implement.

“We all know what the problems are,” Hunting said. “The signs are on the wrong side of the crosswalk and they should have a light that shines right across the crosswalk at night.”

Lennoxville Borough President David Price agreed with Hunting in saying that the lighting and signage, particularly for the crosswalk in front of the Borough Office, are insufficient, but he pointed out that Queen Street falls under the oversight of the Ministry of Transport.

“We’ve notified them several times,” Price said. “They claim that (the signage) meets their norms.”

Though he said that he does not accept the explanation, Price said that the MTQ explanation as to why the crosswalk signs are between drivers and the pedestrians is that having people in front of the sign eliminates the reflective properties of the sign at night.

In an effort to bring further attention to the situation, Price said that he will ask the City of Sherbrooke’s signage service to talk to the MTQ directly. Given past delays in the intergovernmental discussions, however, the borough president did not express any great optimism that the conversation would lead to positive change.

A representative of the MTQ reached by the Record agreed to examine the situation at the Queen Street crosswalk for comment with regard to the hit and run, but had not returned with the results of that evaluation by press time.

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