Seniors asking for a new crosswalk at Elmira retirement home

Seniors in Elmira are pushing for a new crosswalk at the corner of Snyder Avenue and Church Street.

They say the intersection is too dangerous for those looking to cross the road from Chartwell Elmira Retirement Residence.

“Something has to be done for the safety of everybody,” said Lorne Martin, who lives at the home.

The posted speed limit at that intersection is 50 km/h, but residents say many drivers are going much more than that.

"The traffic, even when you've got walkers and wheelchairs, they don't really slow down," said resident Brenda Bartmann.

She's one of many who would also like warning lights installed on each hill to alert approaching drivers.

There is a small island for pedestrians between the lanes with a sign warning them to yield to traffic. Another sign warns drivers that it is used as a crossing for seniors.

Woolwich Council endorsed the crosswalk request on Tuesday night. Now that they've given their support, the issue will move on to regional council.

Murray Martin, the councillor for Ward 3, said the intersection has been a concern for at least 15 years, and remembers it being a problem when his mother was a resident at the retirement home 10 years ago.

“I know very soon after she was there, because she walked a lot, we spoke to the region and I think they said that it wasn’t warranted or something, so this has been around for a long time,” he said.

Patrick Merlihan, the councillor for Ward 1, said they're unlikely to get the support of regional staff.

“They've already told me that it's not warranted at Church and Snyder. I've been working on the reconstruction project with the region on that team.”

Merlihan said he was told regional staff will evaluate the intersection for signals and lights and suggests his colleagues may need to do more than just endorse the idea.

“This really has to go past staff and it needs to go to regional council."

Merlihan said it took years for the region to approve a crosswalk at the St. Jacobs Farmers Market.

“With St. Jacobs, it fixed the problem. We should be in the business of fixing problems. So this is a problem that I think is fixable. We just need the region to work with us.”

Several Woolwich council members also suggested this was an opportunity for regional council to look at installing a crosswalk at the other end of Church Street.

“I’m able bodied and I can run, and it's not comfortable crossing the street there," said Ward 1 Councillor Scott McMillan. "Up by Bolender Park is another area where we could use some more pedestrian access.”

The region was not available for a comment Tuesday night, but said it would look into the request in the morning.

Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz said the region is conducting a review of the intersection and is expected to announce its findings in January.