Amherst crosswalk proving to be dangerous for pedestrians
© Thomas Becker - Amherst Daily News
Winnifred Gabbidon walks the crosswalk where she was almost hit for the first time in weeks.
AMHERST - It was Easter Sunday around 12 p.m. and service had just ended at the First Baptist Church. Winnifred Gabbidon grabbed a complimentary coffee and decided to take a walk.
With the coffee in hand, Gabbidon approached the crosswalk waiting to get to Tim Horton’s to enjoy her hot beverage.
What was supposed to be a routine walk across the street ended up being anything but. As the walk light signaled go, Gabbidon marched toward her destination only to be greeted by oncoming traffic.
“The truck is coming,” she thought.
She dropped everything, raised her arms and waved to get the driver’s attention.
“I didn’t know what to do, I was frightened,” she said.
The black half-ton truck suddenly stopped in front of her as she began shouting at the driver.
“Are you going to kill me this Easter Sunday?”
The driver rolled down his window.
“I’m so sorry lady,” he said quickly, before driving away.
At that moment Gabbidon realized she was lucky to walk away unharmed.
The crosswalk at the corner of Church and Victoria has been an ongoing issue for the people of Amherst. Several people said they’ve been either struck by vehicles or have been close to being hit at the location.
The root of the issue is a left turn coming from Church Street to Victoria Street. When the light turns green allowing vehicles to go, a corresponding walk light also signals, allowing walkers to go as well, creating a dangerous impasse.
Acting police Chief Ian Naylor is aware of the concerns expressed about the crosswalk and said action is being taken.
“The town is having it reviewed again. There is a traffic engineer in the process of reviewing it now.”
The report is expected to be submitted to police in May.
Naylor said it’s a complex issue that’s not easily solved. It’s not as clear-cut as creating all-way stops because their will be longer waits for both traffic and pedestrians.
“Every time you change something it creates new problems.”
There is no perfect solution, he said.
“We’re trying to come up with the best all-around solution to protect people.”
Naylor said the one thing that everyone can do to ensure safety is to be aware of what’s going on around them.
“Pedestrians and drivers must always be vigilant.”
Since the incident, Gabbidon has avoided the crosswalk, walking two extra blocks in some cases.
She said she’s thankful nothing happened to her.
“Jesus was on my side, he saved me that day.”
With summer soon approaching and more pedestrians crossing streets, there is an increased concern for people’s safety, especially children, Gabbidon said.
“They need to stop. If they don’t stop, someone will be killed.”