Saskatoon committee mulling next steps for pedestrian underpasses where high crime rates reported

The Mount Royal Community Association wants three pedestrian tunnels closed at night.

A study of pedestrian underpasses shows a walkway running underneath Circle Drive West to Confederation Mall makes up for more than half of all criminal incidents along pedestrian underpasses in Saskatoon.

City staff say improving lighting along pedestrian underpasses in Saskatoon could improve safety in the walkways, but the updates would come with a significant cost.

In a report heading to the city’s Standing Policy Committee on Transportation, city administration reports these walkways have a few issues related to public safety concerns.

In 2019, concern was brought forward to the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners that the three pedestrian underpasses beneath Circle Drive connecting Mount Royal with Confederation Mall and Massey Place are contributing to public safety issues, according to the report.

A year later the board was told the underpass connecting Vancouver Avenue to Confederation Mall (Meadowgreen to Fairhaven) had the highest number of events at 52 per cent of reported incidents over a five-year period.

This underpass also had the most violent crime incidents, identified as robberies, assaults, and threats, according to the report.

City administration estimates the cost to install new pedestrian lighting along the city’s eight pedestrian underpasses would cost around $172,000.

To outfit three walkways connecting Meadowgreen to Fairhaven, Mount Royal with Confederation all and Mount Royal to Massey Place would cost about $68,875.