Rising concerns for the safety of pedestrians along 47 Ave. has Sylvan Lake resident and former mayor, Ted Iverson advocating for a pedestrian crossing light at the corner of 48 St.
The intersection is currently home to a crosswalk that is said by Iverson to often leave pedestrians hidden by vehicles parked along 47 Ave.
Iverson himself has witnessed pedestrians, occasionally small children and the elderly, wait at the crosswalk for extended periods of time without traffic stopping as the drivers are unable to see.
“Several times I have witnessed kids standing on the corner crying because the vehicles won’t stop for them,” explained Iverson. “Then when I would try to cross they wouldn’t stop for me either.”
“In the dark and the winter – you just can’t see the kids standing on the corner well when you’re driving by as the parked vehicles block the view of the crosswalk,” he added.
Iverson explained one solution for pedestrian safety would be for the Town to consider some kind of a crossing at the corner of 48 St. and 47 Ave.
“Something so the kids can push the button and traffic will stop. It’s just a crossing light – it seems affordable and I’d like to see something done,” said Iverson.
He explained much of the hazard along the road comes from the on street parking and while he would like to see parking removed from the street altogether, it would likely not be possible. Particularly due to the nature of 47 Ave. containing residences as well as the Bethany Care Centre.
In addition to being mayor for a term, Iverson also served as a Town Councillor. He recalls a time when the Council of the day was lobbying extensively for an extended care facility.
Following extensive lobbying, the provincial government designated funds for the facility.
“They found some money for us for an extended care facility – so what we as the town did was throw in the land next to the lodge to help,” said Iverson. “So what happened was whenBethany agreed to be managers they said in order for their economical model to work the facility needed to have a certain number of suites in it.”
“That piece of land was short and there wouldn’t be room for a parking lot also. So the council of the day voted to relax the parking restrictions for the facility.”
This meant visitors and even some staff of the Bethany would be parking on the street.
“In my own mind, when we made that decision – we didn’t think it would be permanent and that some how over time we would find a way to correct the shortage of parking,” saidIverson.
Over the years Iverson has watched as traffic steadily increased on 47 Ave. following the changes made to the intersection of Highway 781 and Highway 11, which funnelled traffic instead along Highway 20 and down 47 Ave.
“We also took the dangerous goods route off Lakeshore Drive and put it on 47 Ave. a – so all these incremental changes have just steadily made the traffic here much more significant,especially at peak times of the day,” said Iverson who used to act as director of Disaster Services for the town. “I’m concerned now with the Nexsource Centre coming in on 48th, the danger is increasing with more and more kids using that as a hub,”
“I’d like to see the community recognize there is a problem at hand and that it is only going to get worse when the Nexsource Centre is complete.”
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