An aerial view of the St. Mary’s School neighbourhood. A crosswalk was requested for the corner of 4th Street and 16th Avenue S.

An aerial view of the St. Mary’s School neighbourhood. A crosswalk was requested for the corner of 4th Street and 16th Avenue S.

St. Mary’s crosswalk a safety issue, principal says

The principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Independent School is worried about the safety of children at 4th Street S and 16th Avenue S.

The principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Independent School said she was surprised to see news about her crosswalk request in the newspaper last week, as she hadn’t yet received any word from the City of Cranbrook on the matter.

Back in early November Jerelynn MacNeil contacted the city to request a crosswalk be installed on the corner of 4th Street South and 16th Avenue South.

In the Jan. 8 Daily Townsman, it was reported that city engineers recommended against the crosswalk, as they said it doesn’t meet the criteria for the City of Cranbrook Street Sign and Road Marking Manual, or the Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual for British Columbia. And just to be clear city council has not made any decisions on the matter — only heard the engineer’s report recommending against it.

MacNeil said she wasn’t told at the time of the criteria.

“If I’d been able to speak to somebody and they said here’s some of the criteria you need to look at before you ask this request of us, then I probably would have changed my request to some extent, but they just said send it in,” she said. “They did tell me that somebody would call me and come out here and would look at it and discuss it, and that never happened.”

So when it showed up on the front page of the newspaper she was surprised.

MacNeil said her worry is just with the of the safety of children.

“There’s two issues: traffic speeds up towards the Green home, lots of times for good reasons, but it’s not just the children at St. Mary’s School School,” MacNeil said. “The problem is that kids walk from Laurie Middle School, or even from the high school and they cut kind of a straight path from Mount Baker or Laurie to our property.”

MacNeil said the City actually owns a road that goes through the field before returning to Rotary Trail.

“So people walk across the field, hook on to the road and get on Rotary path and go home,” she said. “So whether you put crosswalks on that or not, it’s not going to change the flow of traffic. It’s not just our kids, it’s a pattern of walking and all I want to do is draw some attention, because I walk kids down there and they hardly stop when I’m walking with them, let alone when I’m not walking with them.”

MacNeil said the School District 5 buses also pick up students around that location.

“I was just asking for a crosswalk,” she said. “I think their regulations state that you can’t put in a crosswalk without it going from sidewalk to sidewalk. The problem is that SD5 buses pick up right there, so the kids were forced to walk there, because that was their bus stop — it’s right on the corner. To draw a straight line, it goes into our field. We call it the Bishop’s field, it’s where the St. Mary’s school sign sits. There is no crosswalk in front of that field, because it’s just a field.”

She said she would’ve liked to look at other options, but there wasn’t any opportunity to do that.

“Why not try to make it a little bit safer, because it’s not just the school zone,” she said.