If you walk or cycle north on Bridge Road to the Trans- Canada Highway, you have to wait for a vehicle to pull up beside you at the intersection to trigger the stoplight so you can cross the highway safely.
"We’re a unique community," said Headingley councillor John Mauseth. "We’re divided by a major highway."
The Headingley Recreation & Parks Advisory Committee (HRPAC), of which Mauseth is a member, and other community groups are asking Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Steve Ashton to improve the safety of this intersection connecting the southern residential section of the community with the northern area.
The Headingley Community Centre is located on the north side of this intersection, and is used regularly for seniors and family programming. Bright Beginnings Educare’s infant and preschool groups are housed in a centre on Monterey Road and residential development continues on the north side of the highway.
Mauseth said he heard from a parent who tried to cross the highway on foot to see her child play baseball at one of the diamonds located behind the community centre. She told him that she won’t attempt this crossing again because of the danger from highway traffic.
"We have a concern of how to get our residents across safely from north to south and south to north," he said.
HRPAC’s letter to Ashton outlined a few other examples of near-accidents at the intersection. The committee asked him to change the light to allow pedestrians and cyclists to trigger it, and to develop a walkway/overpass or underpass from the community centre to an area near Nick’s Inn on the south side of the highway.
Headingley Municipal Library board chair Margaret Mills signed a copy of the letter, and other community groups are expected to also mail off copies of it.
"It’s been discussed among HRPAC and other groups for the past four or five years," Mauseth said of the safety of the intersection.
Headingley mayor Wilf Taillieu said council recognizes the dangerous nature of the intersection for those not in a vehicle and trying to cross.
Ashton hasn’t replied to the Headingley groups’ letters yet.
"In response to concerns regarding improved pedestrian and cyclist safety at the Bridge Road/PTH 1 crossing in Headingley, the province is reviewing the request to enhance pedestrian accommodation at the intersection of PTH 1 and PR 334 (Bridge Road). This would need to be reviewed in conjunction with the plans and traffic patterns for the Headingley Bypass," a provincial communications staff member told The Headliner in an email.
Taillieu said highway improvements are underway along a section of the Trans-Canada that runs through the municipality, but changes to the Bridge Road intersection aren’t included in that work.
Mauseth said there might be a concern about possible traffic disruption from a pedestrian-triggered light. After the bypass is constructed, reduced traffic volume could help to solve the problem. However, he still feels that safety needs to be improved quickly before an accident occurs.