Safety concerns raised
Turner Valley: Task force looking at pedestrian safety
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 08:38 am
A Turner Valley mom who can’t help but feel nervous as she watches her children walk to school each morning joined her neighbours to insist the Town take action.
Three months ago, Karly Steed’s eight-year-old daughter was struck by a car while biking to school with an adult and group of children. There are no sidewalks on Steed’s street.
“I just figured it’s a small town, everyone is careful,” said Steed.
Now her attitude has changed.
“Before they got to school every day I say, ‘Make sure those cars stop before you cross the road,’” she said. “I don’t think you can remind them enough. All it takes is for them to look away for a second or get distracted.”
Steed’s daughter was taken to the hospital and suffered neck injuries.
Residents from Steed’s country meadows neighbourhood wrote a letter to Turner Valley Town Council with 31 signatures attached expressing concerns about the speed of traffic and lack of sidewalks and crosswalks.
Within weeks, the Town set up a safety task force consisting of three councillors and two community members to address their issues.
Christine Bates, mother of two, helped spearhead the petition.
“Because there were a few accidents involving children in this town I just thought we could start something in this neighbourhood,” she said. “There are some young families I know who live on Sunset Boulevard and Roberts Street who say it’s a problem over there as well.”
Bates said some motorists go well over the posted speed limit, even in school and playground zones.
“There is actually 33 kids that live in this neighbourhood and the majority of them go to school at Turner Valley School and a lot of them walk home and have to cross (Edward Ave.), which didn’t used to be a busy road when we moved here four years ago,” she said.
Mayor Kelly Tuck, who is on the safety task force, shares their concerns.
“So many of our streets in the Town of Turner Valley don’t have sidewalks,” she said. “It becomes a huge issue with kids going back and forth to school. It’s been an issue in this town for a long time.”
Tuck said the Town received similar letters in the past addressing the same concerns. Among the changes she would like to see is the residential speed limit reduced. It is currently 50 km/hr.
Tuck said the task force will bring in other groups including protective services to enforce changes in speed limits, and the town planner to look at requirements regarding sidewalks and street widths for future developments.
Also on the committee is Coun. Barry Crane, who signed the petition. He said the issue goes beyond his neighbourhood.
“We are going to be the first leg,” he said. “Robert Street has another group of parents who wants speed addressed there.”
Crane said he would like the task force to consider speed bumps, but building sidewalks in areas already developed isn’t viable.
“If you haven’t put it in the development stage you lost the funding the developer would have put into that project and you are putting that cost onto the taxpayers,” he said. “That’s a planning issue to really make clear in the start of a development that sidewalks are essential and green space and access through green spaces to go with it, in my opinion.”
Crane said the task force’s first meeting is scheduled this week.
“Let’s address the issues and get things moving before summer hits because that’s when we’re going to really see speeding,” he said.