For all of your readers who drive on the 24th Street and Columbia Avenue intersection in Castlegar, I would like to ask one thing, please pay attention.
This is a very dangerous intersection due to the slightly acute angle at which 24th Street intersects Columbia Avenue. Many drivers turning left off of 24th Street onto Columbia Avenue towards downtown Castlegar are not focusing on something very important – pedestrians!
Every other morning I walk my seven year-old son to school along with our dog. As we cross this intersection, on six occasions we have almost been run down by careless drivers.
In all six instances we had pressed the walk signal button, waited for the little green ‘walk man’ to start flashing happily away, and proceeded to cross the road.
That’s when things started to go wrong. Some of the drivers at the intersection are so focused on the fact that there are no cars coming up the hill across the highway from them, and that they’ll have a clean shot at a left turn when the light turns green, they fail to notice the pedestrians waiting to cross. As soon as the light turns green, they accelerate and proceed to turn left.
As I mentioned earlier, because of the acute angle of this intersection, these drivers are not seeing the people on the crosswalk or the flashing green walk signal that is approximately 15 feet to the left of their field of vision.
On four of those occasions I had to grab my son by the shoulder and quickly pull him back to stop him from being hit by these careless drivers. Fortunately, these drivers noticed us at the last instant, slammed on their brakes, smiled sheepishly, and allowed us to continue to cross the highway.
But on the two other occasions, the most dangerous drivers were apparently so completely oblivious to our presence that they roared around the corner without hesitating or slowing down and apparently saw nothing but the green traffic light in front of them. Again, had I not quickly put my hand on my son’s shoulder and yanked him back, he would have been under the wheels of those inattentive drivers’ cars.
My concern is for not only my son’s safety, but for that of other children crossing this busy road. My son is a very smart and cautious child, but that being said, he is a child and children can get distracted and not pay attention, just like some of these drivers.
I don’t know what can be done to remedy this situation. It is a well-marked intersection. Do we perhaps need a crossing guard during school hours to keep our children safe? Perhaps the RCMP need to sit there in the mornings and after school to monitor this situation, handing out tickets to those drivers not yielding to pedestrians?
At the very least I hope you publish this letter and that it will help bring to light this serious safety issue. I also hope some of your readers might think about looking left, before turning left, at this dangerous intersection. Thank you.