Stettler county council agreed to install pedestrian crossing lights in the Hamlet of Erskine after discussing safety concerns for kids heading to school. The decision was made at the Sept. 8 regular meeting of council.
Councillors read a report from Chief Administrative officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy and staff member Cara Mckenzie proposing the county improve pedestrian crosswalks across Sec. Hwy. #835, a north-south route located on the west side of the hamlet.
Cassidy stated the existing crosswalks have been a concern because of the heavy traffic on that road, the fact kids in Erskine cross that road to get to school and some sightline concerns about the existing crosswalk.
Cassidy stated the county contacted Alberta Transportation about installing lights at the crosswalks and was told the provincial government department doesn’t have money in its budget for such lights.
However, Alberta Transportation stated the county has permission to go ahead and install the lights itself if it wishes.
Mckenzie stated she did some research on the issue and found options but they cost money.
“They are a little bit expensive, though,” said Mckenzie. She quoted two sets of lights at about $19,000 in total.
Coun. James Nibourg stated he didn’t see a problem because the lights were needed to ensure the safety of children getting to school.
Cassidy suggested the funds come from the county’s Rural Development Fund.
Coun. Cheri Neitz noted there are signs for the crosswalks but they’re located behind trees and she feels the crosswalk’s visibility needs to be increased.
Neitz said residents have been voicing concerns for years about those crosswalks and with the large G3 grain terminal operating just across the highway the traffic will only get heavier.
When asked if the trees can be trimmed on a regular basis, Nibourg responded it’s not just trees causing sightline issues for the crosswalks as parked vehicles also block views of the crosswalks. He said there are signs already there notifying motorists of the crosswalks but because they’re often blocked by parked vehicles, the area probably should be a “no parking” zone.
Nibourg asked what the warranty and serviceability would be on these crosswalk lights.
Mckenzie stated she would have to research the warranty information and get back to councillors later but she spoke to the Town of Three Hills which uses the same crosswalk lights. They installed them in 2017 and have been happy with them ever since.
Councillors unanimously approved funds from the Rural Development Fund for pedestrian crosswalk lights across Sec. Hwy. 835 in Erskine.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter