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Refuge island scheduled to be completed at busy intersection by late fall

A collision involving a cyclist occurred at the same Kitchener intersection on Monday
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A pedestrian "refuge" island will be built where a busy trail meets Victoria Street South in Kitchener.

A refuge island is in the centre of the roadway, which allows pedestrians and cyclists to cross one half of the road at a time so they only have to navigate one direction of traffic.

In January 2018, the city had announced plans to make the crossing where the Iron Horse Trail meets Victoria St. safer for pedestrian and cyclists.

While this plan has been in place for some time, a cyclist was hit on the morning of September 9 while crossing at this intersection.

Barry Cronkite, Director of Transportation Services at the City of Kitchener, told Kitchener Today with Brian Bourke on 570 NEWS, the refuge island is scheduled to be completed by late fall.

"It does make it much easier to cross, especially a street like Victoria Street, because you're only navigating part of the roadway at a time, so you don't have to wait for such a big gap in traffic to be able to cross the road."

Cronkite also says the new route with the island will allow people to cut across the road directly, instead of using the light-controlled intersection at Victoria St. and West Ave.

"As a pedestrian or cyclist when you're trying to get somewhere, direct lines are always better. Even a short little jog in your route can add a substantial amount of time. It's a little bit different when you're driving, but as a pedestrian or a cyclist that adds a substantial amount of time and a substantial amount of effort."

The city conducted a survey of cyclists who ride the Iron Horse Trail at this intersection. 70 per cent said they cut across the intersection directly instead of using the lights at the intersection of Victoria St. and West Ave.

Cronkite added that as drivers, we can slow down and pay more attention.

"Safety is critically important, so anything that we can do to highlight that is always a benefit. Again, in terms of what happened here, it's unfortunate. But our goal is to make it safer at the end of the day."

Regional police say the 22-year-old Kitchener man involved in the collision is no longer in life-threatening condition, but did receive serious injuries.

Work on the trail will begin on September 23.




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