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Safety concerns over Weber St. crossing in Waterloo

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Residents in Waterloo are raising concerns about a busy crossing on Weber St. near Mackay Crescent.

Pedestrians and cyclists have difficulty crossing the road due to the steady stream of vehicles on Weber St. There are no lights and pedestrians are expected to yield to traffic.

A small island in the centre of the street gives pedestrians a place to stop, but people who use it say no crosswalk lines or lights makes it challenging.

“To cross that by bike, especially with kids, it’s not that fun,” said Brian Doucet, with the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo.

Vehicles have also driven over the island at least two times in the last year.

On Nov. 1, 2022, someone took out a sign in the process.

Then on Monday, another driver went over the island.

“Somebody had just taken out, like, three street signs,” said Julia Therrien, a floral designer at Raymond’s Flower Shop. “Kept on going. By the time I was there and looking the shrapnel was falling down.”

Damage at the island trail crossing on Weber St. in Waterloo, Ont. on Nov. 27, 2023.

“The worst thing would be nothing is done, then someone is hit or killed and that prompts an infrastructure response. Let’s be more proactive,” urged Doucet.

The signs have now been replaced, but those who know the area say they often see people on the island waiting to cross.

“The bus stop is right on the other side of the street. So people are always walking through. They stop there. People will be there for a few minutes, families, and people with bikes,” Therrien explained.

Besides the bus stop, there is a cycling trail and a busy parking lot around the crossing.

Therrien said it’s also challenging for drivers to get out of the plaza.

“I never turn left, I’ll tell you that. I always turn right and I make a detour and then come back, because turning left is not worth it.”

Doucet believes a traffic light to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross would make everyone feel safer.

“This would create a safe crossing. It would also prioritize or enhance the connectivity of the cycling and the walking infrastructure,” he added.

There is a set of lights pedestrians and cyclists can use at Lincoln Rd. and Weber St.

Doucet argues people using the trail and anyone in a wheelchair shouldn’t have to make a detour in order to get across.

He also said the online cycling map shows a connection across Weber St., so it’s a surprise when he pulls up to it and sees there’s no way to stop traffic to cross.

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