Students raise traffic issues

(Photo by Samantha Kellerman)

Recently there have been some concerns regarding the safety of pedestrians and drivers at the Noecker and Regina Streets intersection. With numerous students living nearby, many have to encounter this area walking or driving to school.

The curve of Regina Street can make it difficult to view oncoming traffic, impacting the safety of all who use the intersection.

Josh Dennill, a fifth-year philosophy major at Wilfrid Laurier University, filed a complaint about the Noecker and Regina intersection this year. Dennill lived on Noecker for two years.

Dennill said that “you have to drive your car halfway into the intersection” in order to see whether there are cars coming down Regina. Dennill also said that he’s “seen cars have to do a screeching stop” and that he’s seen pedestrians almost get hit as well.

Christine Koehler, manager of Traffic Operations for the city of Waterloo, said in an e-mail to The Cord that because the volume of traffic is not high enough the city cannot put a pedestrian cross walk nor can they put in a four-way stop for the same reason.

Dennill questioned whether it was possible for the city to get a warrant to put in a pedestrian signal so that not only can pedestrians cross safely, but the drivers on Noecker can take advantage of the pause of traffic on Regina.

Although it is not possible at the time for the city to make changes to this intersection, students are still concerned about their safety on the walk to school.

Jordan Dent, a third-year communications student at Laurier, expressed concern that “cars aren’t looking for pedestrians because they can’t see around the corner.” Dent lives on Weber Street and because of the risks at Noecker and Regina she walks down Marshall instead.

The city of Waterloo has made some changes to this intersection previously due to safety concerns. Koehler noted that the city has lowered the speed limit to 40 km/h and no longer allows parking on the west side of the street to improve visibility. Also, the house on the south-east corner has had modifications made to their front porch in order to remove it from the view of westbound drivers on Noecker Street.

In response to the requirements needed for change, Dennill said, “It didn’t meet the traffic volumes, but on several years it met the collision requirement, which is concerning because there is low traffic and high collisions.”

As immediate changes are not being made, another option for pedestrians and drivers is to try and avoid this intersection. Koehler suggested in her e-mail that, “Pedestrians heading toward WLU can cross at Marshall and walk over to King Street to cross with the pedestrian signals.”

As for future changes at the intersection of Noecker and Regina, Koehler said, “The city will have another traffic count performed in the spring of 2013 to see if the volumes of both the vehicles and pedestrians have changed.  At that time, we will determine if additional action should be taken.”

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