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Two new pedestrian crosswalks coming to CK

It will soon be easier for pedestrians to get from one side of the street to the other in two areas of Chatham-Kent.

Two new planned pedestrian crossovers are coming to the municipality — one in Tilbury and one in Blenheim. During Monday night’s council meeting, the contract was awarded to Ron Field & Son Electrical Limited of Chatham at the cost of $105,829.

The Blenheim crosswalk will be installed on Marlborough Street between the Wellington Street and John Street West intersections, while the one in Tilbury will go along the north side of the Queen Street South and Helen Street and Jeffrey Street West intersection.

“This location was selected due to the various utilities [wood poles, underground plant, etc.] located on the south side of the intersection and also the close proximity of the driveway access from the Tilbury District High School parking lot,” stated an administrative report. “In addition to providing a safe crossing for students, this location will also provide connectivity to recreational facilities [e.g. Tilbury Arena, Centennial Park, etc.] located to the east and west of the crossing.”

The need for crosswalks in these locations was requested by the councillors representing each community. For Ward 1 Councillor Mark Authier, the decision is nearly a year in the making. He, along with Councillor Melissa Harrigan, has been working with resident Martina Roach to get one installed near Tilbury District High School. In 2017, Roach lost her 18-year-old nephew after he was hit by a car while walking in Leamington and she has since been an advocate for safer walkways.

“I’m happy to see it finally,” said Authier. “We definitely needed something there it’s a very busy road, especially in September. When the farmers are taking stuff off and the big semis are running through town it will be nice to have it there.”

After the concerns from councillors were raised, traffic studies were conducted at the intersections and showed that the pedestrian crossing were warranted. The Blenheim crosswalk will have a traffic light on Marlborough Street to control vehicular traffic with a coordinated pedestrian signal to instruct pedestrians when it is safe to walk while the one in Tilbury will be equipped with rapid flashing rectangular lights that face both directions on both sides of the roadway. Both walkways will be activated by a pushbutton and also get a new street light to make it safer for crossing.  They will also be built to meet provincial accessibility standards.

“Audible pedestrian pushbutton systems will be installed to provide locator tones and activation messages to users,” read the report. “Curb drops and sidewalk ramps with tactile plates will be installed at both crosswalk locations.”

The two pedestrian signals were added to the 2019 capital plan and both items were approved during the 2019 budget deliberations with funding was made available through this year’s capital budget. The contract between the municipality and the construction company states that the work is to be done by August 30, 2019.