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OPP asked to patrol problematic intersection in Orillia

'We have had two pedestrian crashes at this crosswalk in the last few years,' says city official of incidents at crosswalk at Coldwater Road and Patrick Street

Following safety concerns raised by crossing guards and city staff, the Orillia Police Services Board has requested the OPP pay closer attention to the crosswalk at Coldwater Road and Patrick Street.

In a letter to the board, city health and safety officer Nancy Wilding said the intersection’s crossing guard has routinely seen vehicles enter the crosswalk before he has returned to the sidewalk, but after children have crossed.

When Wilding covered a shift for the crossing guard Sept. 9, she said she experienced the same.

Doing so is in contravention of Section 176.3 of the Highway Traffic Act, which stipulates all people must clear the roadway before vehicles can proceed.

Drivers are generally entering the crosswalk from Patrick Street onto Coldwater Road, Wilding said.

“He said that it’s different than it was in the past. It was happening way more often and he was giving verbal instructions to people … that this is illegal,” she said at Tuesday’s police services board meeting. “He is not noticing any reaction or change.”

Members of the board encouraged residents to report such instances to the OPP, which selects its focused patrols based on gathered data.

“That creates data for the OPP, and when there’s enough data that indicates that there’s an issue in the city, that’s where they decide to deploy their resources,” said Mayor Steve Clarke.

“If you’ve got an issue, with as much information as possible — description of the vehicle, time of day, licence plate, if possible — go on online or call the 888 number (1-888-310-1122) and record it," the mayor urged.

“Without knowing that there’s an issue at a set intersection, we might be at a different intersection or another problem, so I do strongly encourage those reports to come in,” added Insp. Coyer Yateman, Orillia OPP detachment commander.

Board member Darylene Forrest suggested the OPP roll out a social media campaign to educate the public on crosswalk rules.

“There could be a campaign, or even messages maybe once a week, surrounding the fact that you can’t drive through the crosswalk when there is someone there with a stop sign. There may be people who actually don’t know that,” she said.

Wilding said the recent issues experienced by the crossing guard are not the first in the area.

“We did have a pedestrian collision at this intersection, also, on Sept. 20. It did not happen in the crosswalk; it happened on the other side of Patrick Street, opposite the crosswalk on Coldwater (Road), where a driver struck a mother and a child who were crossing that crosswalk,” she said.

“About three years ago, we also had a woman pushing a stroller hit by car, again in the same crosswalk, not at the school crosswalk where the guard is. People choose to use the other side for reasons of convenience that I don’t understand, but we have had two pedestrian crashes at this crosswalk in the last few years.”

The board voted to request the OPP co-ordinate focused patrols in the area to enforce the Highway Traffic Act.

“We obviously are data focused and try to put our officers in locations where there are concerns,” said Yateman. “However, if there was a special request from the city or the police service board … we can have that for October. It’s just we will be taking away from another location where data shows we have an issue.”

“We would not know about this issue if Nancy did not bring it to the (board) because it’s not being reported, which is very unfortunate,” added Clarke.

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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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