“Everyday I try to cross the road on Albion and Bruce (right by value village) with my 6 month son .. sometimes by myself or with my husband. It is absolutely disgusting how people never stop. They literally come from the 4 way stop and want to race up to the top of the hill to the next one. I have said it now multiple times in multiple boards – we need a blinking yellow cross walk here. It has had 3 pedestrians hit in 2017 – and in 2016 a women died when a man was going to Starbucks at 6:30am and hit her. If people can’t see 2 adults and a stroller – how can they see one person, or a child? Especially at night.” – Nicole Cameron – May 14th, 2019
It isn’t the first time citizens have raised their concerns about this intersection at Albion and Bruce. In fact, this dangerous intersection has been a topic of discussion for many years. The RCMP have even identified this as being a problematic intersection, and for good reason – its history is hazardous and grim – along with a variety of accidents and life impacting incidents that have occurred there, it has also claimed at least two lives.
On Nov. 11th, 2019 this intersection of misfortune struck again and claimed its most recent victim – a 24 year old woman.
Thankfully it wasn’t fatal, this time, but it was a serious life threatening injury – this young woman is still in recovery at the hospital and it’s going to take a long time to get her life back together – her life will never be the same.
One might think that Council would be wanting to express commitment to addressing this intersection within next year’s budget that’s currently being debated. What we’re hearing instead, is everything but that. So it’s not unreasonable to conclude that if citizens don’t press Council on this further – the likelihood of this intersection being addressed in 2020 is low to nil.
I can’t help but continue to wonder – what is it actually going to take for our leadership to step up and say “enough is enough, we need to address this” – and to commit to doing just that? Will it require another maiming, or death? I know, that may sound callous – but this is serious and needs to recognized for what it is. It’s only a matter of time before it happens again if this isn’t made into a priority and addressed once and for all.
When the last fatality happened at this intersection
I remember the Council meeting back in 2016 after the last fatality occurred at this intersection; the Council chamber was somber when the incident was brought up by our Council of the day. They stated their dismay and concerns, and consulted Staff on the subject to the essence of – “This is horrible, this intersection has been a problem for years! What can we do to get this fixed; can’t we get a proper pedestrian crossing with lights put in place?”, to which the reply in essence was, “We have many dangerous intersections in Nanaimo and as a result they are prioritized accordingly – we cannot address them all at one time and will review the priority of this one again at a future date”. There was a bit more back and forth discussion on the subject, and in the end Council moved onto the rest of the business of the day, providing no direction and again – in essence – putting the unfortunate incident behind them and moving forward – the issue was not revisited during the remainder of their term in open council.
This is a sensitive subject so I want to be very clear here – I am by no means suggesting that they didn’t care; it was quite clear that they did. All I am suggesting, is that they chose not to provide further direction or follow up on this to ensure the safety aspects were properly taken care of so that it would (hopefully) never occur again.
In the end, nothing was done about it and still hasn’t been – so unfortunately, here we are again. Nobody can be surprised; it’s a well-known problematic intersection that has repeatedly damaged people’s livelihoods and stolen lives.
I wonder, can we be in agreement that this is not going to stop until something different is actually done about it? I sure hope so. And if we can agree on that, could we also agree that this needs to be a priority – that something needs to be done about this sooner rather than later?
Things are different now – or are they?
When this most recent incident occurred, it was reported that Staff are doing a study on this intersection again. That’s different. We also have a different Council – a Council that has been tackling many things and has much more to accomplish before their term is complete. So there is potential with this Council, that this situation could start to be approached differently as well.
In this case, what could be (and needs to be) different – is for this Council to acknowledge the importance of addressing this, and express their commitment towards ensuring that this highly problematic crossing is addressed without further delay once the study is complete.
That is what the citizens need to hear, not more excuses. We need clearly expressed commitment – and it’s not too much to ask.
Will someone on Council please step up?
The Albion and Bruce crossing is in the core of Harewood where thousands of cars and pedestrians travel daily. It’s a well used access point to the majority of amenities that Harewood citizens access daily – a grocery store, convenience store, pharmacy, restaurants – all sorts of amenities. People of all ages utilize this intersection; families, individuals, children on their way to and from school, seniors walking to the grocery store and back – you name it.
Commitment to take action on this intersection cannot wait until the next time someone else’s life is impacted. The commitment needs to be made now. It doesn’t mean Council has to commit to a specific action beyond that at this point, it just means that Council needs to commit to taking action once the Staff report is complete.
It’s a simple and reasonable request of Council, and it will only take one of you on Council to articulate the importance of this in a public setting, at the Council table, for your colleagues to begin to get on board – I mean, after all, this is a matter of life and death, and there is no pet project that takes precedence over this or excuse that justifies inaction. This intersection has impacted too many lives over the years, and it will continue to do so until action is taken. So please, please step up to the plate and lead this forward.
Fellow Citizens: You have a role in this too
Do you agree that something needs to be done about this intersection? If so, you should speak up and make your voice heard. Here are some simple things that can help:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org – tell them all what you think about this and why – and urge the importance of addressing the dangerous Albion and Bruce intersection. Ask for their commitment to take action on the study being conducted on this intersection when it’s ready so that they can help prevent further loss of people’s lives and livelihoods.
- There is an eTown Hall occuring tomorrow at 7 pm (Monday, December 2nd, 2019) – you can attend in person, or from the convenience of your desktop. Ask them if they will commit to helping prevent further loss of people’s lives and livelihoods at the dangerous Albion and Bruce intersection, by taking action without delay once the study is complete. You can even ask that as an eTown Hall Question right now online without having to wait until tomorrow, here: https://www.nanaimo.ca/etownhall
- If walkability aspects in Nanaimo are of interest to you, come join and take part in the Walk in Nanaimo group – an advocacy group where all kinds of conversations are happening around active transportation and protecting the most vulnerable road users of all; pedestrians of all ages.
There’s also one more thing you might be able to do to help – this particular one would directly help the 24 year old woman who was recently struck at the intersection and is in hospital recovering from this horrible incident that almost took her life. If you have a little bit of cash to donate – every bit helps – please consider pitching in at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/daisy-and-david-support-fund
Can you think of other ways to help? I’m listening! Please share them, and lets work together towards doing whatever it takes to get action on this.