This is the start of a series of “Unfriendly Streets Stories” that we want to capture. If you have one to share about your experience, either getting to a solution for your traffic woes or hoping for one, we want to hear it! Email Beatrice or Elise at firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to crossing Victoria St N. over to the General Hospital from the parking lot that’s directly on the opposite side of this road, Hamilton resident, Jennette Lukasik says she would like to see something installed, such as a crossing, that allows pedestrians to cross safely at that point, “because that’s what they are going to do.”
It’s unreasonable to expect even able-bodied people to walk the distance to the signalized crossing at Barton at Victoria (which is actually not very safe due to the extremely high volume of traffic at this intersection), “let alone people who are at a disadvantage to being with,” Jennette says. Think seniors, people on crutches, people in wheelchairs, people pushing strollers, etc. “People take the shortest route that they can.”
Jennette wants people to avoid what happened to her husband, Murray, back in February of 2011, at this very spot on Victoria North.
“It was a bright and sunny, cold morning, there was no traffic, it had all stopped at Barton. We started crossing over to the hospital.” That’s when a driver suddenly appeared, and on turning left to Victoria, where they happened to be crossing, looked right, but not left. The driver hit Murray.
“Ironically, they sent an ambulance,” Jennette says. Murray’s leg was fractured: he underwent surgery and spent two months in a hospital bed.
Jennette took action; she phoned the traffic department to get stats on the number of people crossing at this location and to voice her concern, she wrote a letter to the hospital administration: “I suggested they put up a little sign to watch for pedestrians, as they do around schools, asking drivers to look for children.” But nothing has changed. It’s 2017 and the location is every bit as unsafe for pedestrians. And trucks continue to barrel down to Burlington Street at top speed, as if Victoria St. N were a throughway. It seems to Jennette, that to the city, “the flow of traffic is far more important than how it impacts people. But traffic flow shouldn’t take priority.”
“Every time we come to the hospital now, we take the bus because Murray can’t face driving,” Jeanette says.
Today, Murray uses a cane at all times. “It’s changed our lives completely. For a person who had no problems, no arthritis, his quality of life has changed,” Jeanette says. “The accident impacted our children too, they have to help us more.”
Jennette reports that both she and Murray are happy that the Friendly Streets Hamilton project is working towards creating safer, more friendly streets.