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Seniors' petition asks for safer Squamish crossing

Westwinds and Shannon Falls residents say there have been too many close calls at Third Avenue:; District says data collection and a street concept design for Third Avenue are underway.

Squamish seniors are urging the municipality to put in traffic calming measures on the road running outside two retirement homes.

Dana Drake, a resident of Westwinds, has gathered about 100 signatures from residents in his complex, as well as the neighbouring Shannon Falls residence.

From his unit in his facility, he has a view of the stretch of Third Avenue between Bailey and Pemberton Avenue, which he said has become a place full of "close calls."

While there is a pedestrian walk sign in that area, the warning lights that indicate someone is crossing are very small and not visible from a distance.

"The flashing lights are really small," Drake said. "A lot smaller than the school crosswalk signs, and  they can be difficult to see."

He said he'd seen daily cases of vehicles driving down the street and arriving at what he considers an uncomfortably close stop.

"People are stepping out on the crosswalk, and then cars coming to a sudden stop because they finally see them," said Drake. "They were going too fast."

There've also been cases of impatient drivers blowing past the crosswalk while other drivers ahead stop for pedestrians.

"I saw one car passing another. One car was stopped at the crosswalk then another came by and blew by them," Drake said.

"And quite often, there's somebody parked there, and that creates a blind spot for the crosswalk. And then at nighttime, we've got cars [moving fast] down there. It sometimes sounds extremely noisy."

Drake said he's not alone. Many of the people who are living in the seniors' residences have shared similar stories, he said.

District evaluating data

In response, a spokesperson for the District acknowledged the petition for further changes. 

She noted the flashing lights and no-parking signs have been installed.

"The District takes a consistent approach when traffic-calming requests are received," wrote spokesperson Rachel Boguski. "The first step is to collect and evaluate data of traffic speeds and volumes. We use a traffic counter to do this, and so will install a traffic counter there once it is available. [It is] currently at other sites."

Once an evaluation is done, it would be prioritized based on resources in relation to other traffic calming requests.

"Prioritization considers a variety of factors in addition to traffic speeds and volumes, such as active transportation use and infrastructure, nearby amenities (such as shopping or schools), and any collision history," Boguski said.

"A street concept design for Third Avenue is also underway to plan for better active transportation infrastructure and to ensure that any development projects provide the correct frontage upgrades. Through this design, we are planning a curb bulge at this mid-block crossing on Third Avenue in front of Westwinds that will narrow the crossing distance. We anticipate installing this curb bulge through the District's capital program, but don't yet have a set date for this work."


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