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Business owner wants traffic lights re-installed following collisions

Leslie Greenwood says collisions at Andrew Street and Albert Street West are 'launching' vehicles into her parking lot at the corner of Andrew Street and Albert Street West
Greenwood's Locksmith co-owner Leslie Greenwood has launched an online petition calling for traffic lights to be re-installed at the intersection of Andrew Street and Albert Street West. James Hopkin/SooToday

Motor vehicle collisions at the intersection of Andrew Street and Albert Street West over the past three years has prompted Greenwood’s Locksmith co-owner Leslie Greenwood to petition the city for traffic lights to be re-installed at the intersection.     

Last Wednesday, Greenwood captured surveillance video of a two-vehicle collision at the intersection - situated just metres away from her Andrew Street locksmithing business - where one of the vehicles involved left the intersection and struck her silver Toyota Tundra, which was parked outside the business. 

She launched the online petition that same day. 

“People running the stop sign, and the other person who has the right of way t-boning them,” Greenwood said, when asked to describe what she’s been witnessing at the intersection. “And it’s never good. I’m the first usually out there, pulling people out of cars.” 

She says the corner of Andrew Street and Albert Street West that borders the parking lot of her business is pretty much unusable, and has become a safety concern. 

“We don’t have any more room. I don’t understand how we have to be put out, when the city taking these lights out [is causing] this issue,” she said. “Our parking lot is massive. You can’t park within 60 feet of that corner at all.” 

“Our customers, I worry about them parking along there, or even walking into my store at the wrong time, because somebody’s going to get hit. It’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed at this intersection.”  

Greenwood has reached out to Ward 2 councillors Luke Dufour and Lisa Vezeau-Allen in search of a solution. 

Dufour tells SooToday that Greenwood has some “very valid concerns” regarding the intersection of Andrew and Albert.  

“There were two [motor vehicle collisions at the intersection] last week, and so what I want to do is make sure that if the accident levels are increasing above and beyond what’s considered normal, that we’re ready to take some action,” Dufour said.

Dufour has reached out to the city for data and reports surrounding collisions at the intersection. 

He says that information should be in his hands within the coming days.  

“I think that when you get into cases like this safety is always a very emotional issue - and understandably so - but it’s important that our traffic and our engineering decisions are made according to data and best practices. That’s what it’s there for,” said Dufour. “I know that it’s a pretty hot corner in the sense that there were some folks who didn’t like when the last city council took the lights out there, so the accidents there do get a lot of attention.” 

“I just want to make sure that we’re following what would be our normal course of action everywhere.”

Alternatives to traffic lights are also available, Dufour says, if the city didn’t want to undergo the expense of re-installing lights. 

Those alternatives could potentially include guardrails, barricades or flashing lights.

Some of these alternatives are also mentioned in the online 'traffic calming request form' that's available to the public via the city's website

Dufour points to the recent restructuring of the traffic islands where St. Georges Avenue and McNabb Street join in order to slow traffic at that corner as an example of other alternatives employed by the city.  

“There are a lot of interesting things that you can do without just going back to traffic lights, which, quite frankly, are kind of expensive, and according to province-wide engineering specs, not always needed,” he said. “There’s a couple different options that we can look at - I want it to be led by the data.” 

Greenwood says that she’s been in touch with the city to ask for a guardrail at the corner of her parking lot, but she says that request was denied. 

A resolution put forth in March 2018 requesting a $6,500 traffic study of the Albert Street intersections at Gore Street and Andrew Street was rejected by city council. 

Greenwood initially voiced her displeasure with the intersection to SooToday back in late 2016, making the prediction that it would take “30 years” for drivers to figure out the intersection, which is a two-way stop. 

“We’ve been here since 2012, and I can’t count one accident before the lights came out,” she said. “It’s been one accident after the other weekly.”

The City of Sault Ste. Marie was not immediately available for comment. 

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James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday in Sault Ste. Marie
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