Fairview residents calling for increased safety measures at busy Heritage Drive intersection

Peter Tombrowski has lived in the community of Fairview for the past 20 years, and said he’s never seen such an increase in collisions, including one involving a cyclist earlier this week.

Several close calls and a pair of recent collisions at the intersection of Fairview Drive and Heritage Drive in southeast Calgary are sparking major safety concerns from area residents.

Peter Tombrowski has lived in the community of Fairview for the past 20 years, and said he’s never seen such an increase in collisions, including one involving a cyclist earlier this week.

"I just crossed the street with my wife and I heard the impact, it was really frightening and thankfully the person walked away with minor injuries but it was scary," he said.

"We have seen many near misses here, it’s so busy because of its location near the top of a hill, there’s visibility concerns, I think for both pedestrians and vehicles so everyone should be careful."

A recent collision involving a teenager who was struck in the intersection on April 11 and sent to hospital in serious condition is especially concerning for elderly residents like Barbara McLeod.

She just moved to Fairview a year ago and has already noticed how dangerous the intersection can be because of her mobility issues.

"I almost got hit with my walker, the cars just barrel up and they don’t care, and they don’t stop if the yellow lights are flashing, they just go through," McLeod said.

"They definitely need to install lights here, it’s just too scary because I wonder what happens to people like me who can’t run and get out of the way if a car doesn’t stop for you."

CITY RESPONDS TO CALLS FOR TRAFFIC LIGHTS

City of Calgary Roads spokesperson Tara Merrin said the city of is aware of calls for traffic lights in the area and conducted a traffic signal warrant for Heritage Drive and Fairview Drive S.E. in 2014.

"The existing overhead flasher was found to be the appropriate treatment," read a statement from Merrin.

"Based on available collision data from 2016 to 2021, this location appears to have fewer collisions than similar intersections.  In addition to the April 11 pedestrian collision, we do have record of two previous pedestrian injury collisions in 2008 but otherwise collisions at this intersection appear to be property damage only vehicle collisions. This intersection is not in the top 250 intersections based on collision frequency or severity."

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner confirmed to CTV News that she has not received any complaints from Fairview residents concerned about the dangers of crossing the Heritage Drive and Fairview Drive intersection.

However, she is aware of the intersection and the recent collisions that have occurred there.

"I think what we need to see is we need to hear concerns from residents and then those are conversations that we can take up to administration to explore traffic studies to explore pedestrian patterns and to understand sort of what is that tipping point to putting lights into an intersection," Penner said.

"It’s a shared responsibility to look out for each other right and we need to talk with drivers about the fact that our city is busier both with pedestrians and traffic."

'SAFETY IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY': CALGARY POLICE

Police are advising both drivers and pedestrians to take extra caution on roadways as Calgarians head back to work and get ready for warmer weather expected in the forecast this summer.

"Safety is everyone's responsibility," said Staff Sgt. Rob Patterson with the CPS Traffic Section.

"We want to make sure that our pedestrians or cyclists and our drivers are all keeping an eye out for each other, taking responsibility for themselves and watching out for the others while we interact on roadways."

Patterson added that cyclists should remember that they are considered pedestrians when walking their bike, but also considered cars when riding on the street and subject to rules of the road.

He said drivers and pedestrians must work together to give each other space, especially in high-traffic areas.

"Especially if we're dealing with younger pedestrians or smaller children, we need to be aware of them and cognizant of the fact that young children maybe aren't quite as attentive, aren't able to judge speed of vehicles nearly as well and may step up in front of a vehicle."

Police work with community partners including the City of Calgary and province through regular traffic safety committee meetings to take into account which intersections or roadways may need extra safety measures.

Statistics for pedestrian collisions have remained steady over the past few years aside from about a 25 per cent decrease in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are the total number of injury and non-injury collisions from 2018 to present day:

  • 2018 – 407 collisions
  • 2019 – 414 collisions
  • 2020 – 318 collisions
  • 2021 – 314 collisions
  • Jan to March 2022 – 136 collisions