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This article was published 10/8/2021 (327 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new type of pedestrian-activated traffic light on Henderson Highway between Leighton and McLeod avenues is bound to catch motorists’ attention on a section of road that has been dangerous in the past.
The lights, installed during the resurfacing of Henderson Highway, look like regular stoplights but are only activated when pedestrians wish to cross the road. They replace the standard crossing lights that had been located there.
The location is a dangerous one. In the early afternoon of April 14, 2011, a 22-year-old woman was killed when attempting to proceed at the crosswalk with the lights activated. An 18-year-old male was charged in her death. Witnesses said the vehicle appeared to be travelling at a high rate of speed.
It was for reasons such as this that the extra step was taken, North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty said.
"That area’s a safety concern," he explained. "There’s been many close calls and accidents in the past."
That stretch of Henderson Highway is a busy one, especially during rush hours as pedestrians rush to catch buses. It also falls between two photo radar installations at the intersections of Kimberly and Gilmore, making the area a spot where some speeders try and make up for lost time. Henderson is six lanes wide at this point, which means pedestrians take longer to cross.
Motorists are conditioned to stop for red lights, which will hopefully make the crossing safer for everyone, Browaty said. He also doesn’t expect it to impact traffic flow.
A similar control has been added on McPhillips Avenue. Other sites in the city have lower flashing lights designed to be more in the line of sight of motorists.
"You may see more of these in some cases." Browaty said.
The Henderson Highway crossing light connects the Fraser’s Grove neighbourhood with a busy shopping area featuring a Sobeys, McDonald’s, Liquor Mart, an Access Health Centre and some smaller shops.
Those headed back to Fraser’s Grove can continue on past Henderson Highway, through a path and into the neighbourhood.
The initiative is part of a larger community safety strategy, Browaty said.
"There are things that are being done to improve safety for pedestrians."
East Kildonan community correspondent
Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at email@example.com