Officials with Lambton County Developmental Services are asking Petrolia councillors to take another look at the crosswalks in the downtown.
On Dec. 22, a person whom LCDS supports was struck by a vehicle while crossing Petrolia Line at King Street around 8 pm. Lambton OPP say the pedestrian – who was in a motorized wheelchair – was injured and taken to hospital. Nick Salaris, executive director of LCDS, says it was the second time in less than a year someone the agency supports was hit crossing the street in the downtown.
Salaris said in 2019 the town looked at crossings in the downtown. It upgraded one crosswalk at Petrolia Line and Greenfield St however, the consultant had suggested removing crosswalks which only consisted of paint on the roadway – like the ones at Petrolia and King and Petrolia and Oil and Tank Streets. The consultant also recommended two more crosswalks with amber flashing lights including one at Petrolia Line and Princess Street. The chair of the LCDS board and Salaris have sent a letter to town council which appears on Monday’s agenda asking town council to revisit the report.
Salaris tells The Independent he believes more crosswalks with overhead flashing amber lights would be appropriate in the downtown. Salaris is not clear on the legislation surrounding the placement of the crosswalks but “what I do know is that there might be a false sense of security with people that they see markings on a road, and it makes them feel safe crossing there. And in fact, maybe that’s not right,”says Salaris. ” I think those (2019) recommendations are a good start.”
Salaris says it has been difficult to see residents of the community injured and he doesn’t want it to happen again.
“It’s a traumatic experience for everybody involved, first and foremost, that person, and even the motorists. From our perspective, we know that people don’t drive in downtown Petrolia to attempt to injure people and hurt them; we know that there’s no malice or intent…but we just need to have a safer environment uptown for pedestrians using the downtown core and crossing the street.”