Despite repeated complaints from residents for two years, the City of Laval refuses to increase security at a pedestrian crossing used every day by children to reach their bus stop on Saint-Martin Boulevard West.
Every morning, Noureddine Wahdani fears for the safety of her 12-year-old son. To get to the bus stop, the latter must take a pedestrian crossing that allows him to cross Saint-Martin West Boulevard, near Dutrisac Street.
Many motorists do not let the child pass, who must wait, then move forward in the boulevard hoping to have been seen.
The intersection was redesigned in 2019 during the repair of part of Boulevard Saint-Martin. The artery was widened at this point to install sidewalks and cycle lanes. But above all, a third traffic lane has been added to facilitate car turns.
Since then, motorists no longer have to stop when a vehicle tries to turn into rue Dutrisac and can continue on their way. This new three-lane configuration also lengthened the crossing distance for pedestrians. A passage has been painted on the ground to delimit the crossing, but it is too little for the taste of many residents of the area.
Mr. Wahdani notes that he is regularly yelled at by motorists as he crosses the pedestrian crossing. “People are not happy, they tell me to push myself, when they don’t have priority!” There is a huge misunderstanding about these arrangements, which are never respected. »
During a visit to this location recently, La Presse could see several pedestrians letting motor vehicle drivers pass before crossing, because they were ignoring them. “It’s like this every day,” said a man who said his name was Ricardo. I always wait for motorists to pass because they never stop to let me cross. »
For years, Mr. Wahdani and neighbors have been asking the City of Laval to install a mandatory stop at this intersection. Without success: they are told that the current layout is adequate.
“Looks like they’re waiting for a kid to get hit on the way to school before they realize there’s a problem.” This is nonsense! We must not accept that. »
The motorist who does not respect the priority of pedestrians puts others in danger while being himself protected from the consequences of a collision, whereas the pedestrian who crosses does not have this luxury, and should be all the more protected by the facilities, says the Laval resident. “A collision could easily be fatal to a child. »
La Presse contacted the office of Séphane Boyer, mayor of Laval, but had not received a response about the arrangements in question at the time of publication.
For Sandrine Cabana-Degani, general manager of Piétons Québec, it is not because a pedestrian crossing is laid out according to government standards that it is safe for the citizens who use it daily.
Ms. Cabana-Degani notes that it would likely require a mandatory stop or a traffic light to secure the area for pedestrians. “It’s a sad fact, but pedestrian crossings don’t work in Quebec, even if we continue to install them everywhere. »
The fact that few motorists seem to know pedestrians have priority shows that an awareness campaign is needed, she says. “Also, for a motorist, it is an offense that does not count demerit points. It sends the message that it’s not important in the end, when it is. »
In January, La Presse reported the story of Mélanie Prescott, a mother whose two daughters were caught in 2021 while taking a pedestrian crossing in the village of Saint-Damien, in Lanaudière.
Two years later, the eldest, Harmonie, now 13 years old, is still suffering after having had surgery on her legs and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The young girl, who previously did very well in class, had to repeat her first secondary and was bullied.
The municipality of Saint-Damien asked Quebec to reduce the maximum speed in this area, without success.