Pedestrians and drivers need to tread carefully at the busy intersection of Fraser Street and 49th Avenue. Rush hour turns the area into chaos of honking cars with drivers rushing to make their turns and pedestrians crossing too late.
Two pedestrians were taken to hospital following an accident involving a vehicle at the intersection on Saturday, Oct. 5. The busy intersection is known to many local residents and Langara students as a hotspot for accidents.
An investigation by The Vancouver Sun showed 350 accidents occurred at the intersection between 2005 and 2009. The surrounding blocks of Fraser Street and the intersection almost doubles the number of accidents to 617. Businesses around the area agree the intersection is very dangerous.
In the six and a half years Russell Otterbein has worked at D&R Photo, he has seen a lot of accidents and people running across the crosswalk at the last minute. “I’ve almost been hit a few times when I run across to the street to the bank,” said Otterbein. “Cars are always trying to sneak around on the right turn.”
Mehul Bhalla a Kinetic Wireless employee on Fraser Street has seen three accidents in the three months he has worked there, he said the area is always congested. “It’s a small intersection but a lot of traffic,” said Bhalla.
There are simple things that both drivers and pedestrians can do to reduce their risk of accidents, said Const. Brian Montague spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department.
Two basic rules for drivers and walkers are to avoid being distracted by mobile devices and to make eye contact with each other explained Montague.
“Everyone talks about distracted driving but you can be distracted while you’re walking too,” said Montague. “People don’t pay attention when they’re walking down the street and they make assumptions that drivers can see them. You may be in the right as a pedestrian but being in the right doesn’t keep you safe.”
Steve Beck from Better Environmentally Sound Transportation in Vancouver said that the best thing pedestrians can do is time their crossing so they’re not stepping onto the road too late. “If you leave it until the last minute to try to cross then you’re increasing your likelihood of being struck by one of those cars who is also trying to do that,” said Beck.
Reported by Amy Jones