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'Recipe for disaster': Residents raise safety concerns over Waterloo roundabout

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There are renewed calls to introduce safety measures to a Waterloo roundabout after a recent crash involving a pedestrian.

According to the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS), a 72-year-old man was in the crosswalk area at the roundabout at Erb Street west and Ira Needles Boulevard around 5:40 p.m on Friday, when he was struck by a vehicle. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The driver had no reported injuries.

It isn’t the first collision to happen at that intersection. Residents nearby have raised concerns about the roundabout before.

A 21-year-old man was airlifted to a Hamilton trauma centre in August when he was struck while trying to cross the street.

Bo Ernst, who works in the area, told CTV News he was at a nearby restaurant when the pedestrian was hit in the summer.

“I was in there and there was some commotion and I ran up and looked out the window and he had just been hit,” Ernst said. “I've often pondered how in the heck a crosswalk is within striking distance of these roundabouts because they're a recipe for disaster.”

Ernst said the winter weather makes it even more dangerous at roundabouts.

“It's icy also and snowy. You hit your brakes. You go to stop for that pedestrian. You can't do it in time – boom – you smash right into them,” worried Ernst.

The new Waterloo mayor said the recent crashes are a major concern and wants roundabouts to be reevaluated.

“I think part of the challenge with our roundabouts is the speed on the way in. You can maintain a pretty high degree of speed on the way in and as you exit these roundabouts,” said Dorothy McCabe.

McCabe said Friday’s collision sparked conversation among regional councillors over the weekend, who are hoping to begin discussions during an upcoming meeting about how to minimize the risk at the roundabout.

“We want people to feel safe moving around our community. Whatever their age is, whatever their abilities are, it needs to be accessible, it needs to be safe,” McCabe said.

McCabe told CTV she also wants to ask council about what the options are in terms of automated traffic enforcement.

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