Town reminding residents pathways are not motorways

An emergency path bollard is proving no obstacle for motorists eager to use the pedestrian path between 101 Avenue and 96 Street as quick shortcut. The Town is looking at creating a more permanent barrier in the interest of pedestrian safety. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – A small post behind Morinville Community High School is causing concern with the school’s principal and Morinville’s Community Peace Officers. The bollard, designed to prevent vehicles from driving on a pedestrian pathway, has not deterred a number of motorists from using the pathway as a shortcut between 101 Avenue and 96 Street.

Community Peace Officer Sergeant James Alaeddine said the pathway is designed for emergency vehicles; the bollard originally of a type that would bend on a hinge when an ambulance or fire truck drove over it. The problem was emergency vehicles were not the only ones driving over the bollard to gain quick access from one street to the other. Despite signs clearly marking the path as emergency vehicle access only the public have been using the laneway.

“People have just been driving through it all the time and the school principal was complaining,” Alaeddine said, adding it is a safety issue for pedestrians who use the path. “People are using it as a short cut. The students are standing back there during their breaks and what not. We don’t want pedestrians getting hit.”

To try and combat drivers driving over the bollard, a pin was put in to prevent it from toppling. That has resulted in a bent bollard and vehicle tracks around the now stationary post. “If somebody hits that thing, they’re going to be up for a surprise,” Alaeddine said. “We want to put snow piled up on both sides because I can’t sit out there all the time and catch people.”

The peace officer has caught a couple people – a construction worker on one occasion, a parent dropping off a student on another. Driving on a boulevard carries with it a $115 fine under the Traffic Safety Act and Alaeddine said people will get a ticket if caught.

“We don’t want anyone to get hit,” he said. “There are little kids going through there to Primeau School. They use that as a pathway to get home. Those kids are pretty small and if it is snowing and they are wearing white coats they won’t be seen as well.”

The peace officer said motorists must remember the pathway is a pathway for pedestrians and emergency vehicles only and is not to be used as a shortcut. “It is for emergency vehicles. The fire department is right on the corner and if they want to get to the Lakes or Primeau School – that’s what it is meant for,” he said. “Now we’re looking to put some barricades or even a T-bar up there. We want to educate the public. We don’t want to sit there and give out tickets.”

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