Something’s wrong at Front and Brook
There's something wrong at the corner of Front and Brook streets. I'm not talking about the newly renovated Depanneur Rapido, because that's awesome and just what this neighbourhood needed. It’s the park across the street that's been reduced to a bushy, poorly kept field, and the traffic at the intersection, which is dangerous for cars and pedestrians alike.
I'll start with the park. Several years ago, this park area, where the old train tracks used to go, had a picnic table under an apple tree, several park benches and a garbage receptacle. It was bordered by short wood fences. Last year, the city decided to remove it all -- claiming that the fences were in disrepair, which, as those who live in the neighbourhood can attest to, was simply not true. The removal of the garbage can, I'm told, was because it was always over-flowing. So, rather than have it emptied more often, it is simply removed and the park/path fills up with garbage. Mostly dog-poop bags, as this is a popular dog-walking path.
During last winter’s heavy snowfall, one of the trees succumbed to the weight of the snow and fell over. We assumed the city would take it away, but that wasn't the case. When the landscapers eventually came to cut the grass, the fallen tree was left where it was and they just mowed around it leaving large portion of the park inaccessible and the old path blocked.
With the removal of the wood fence, we saw an increase in parking on the grass there, before the Rapido moved its entrance from the corner. At the bottom of Centre Street, which is a dead end, there is evidence of vehicles continuing straight through to Front Street, now that the way is wide open. The city has ruined this beautiful park area for no good reason; this is a shame because it was used by so many.
And the traffic!
The traffic at this intersection is also a disgrace. For those of us with children, it's scary. The other day, I was walking with my kids and as we got to Front Street, there was a minivan coming to a stop, but as we crossed the street, the driver waved her arms at us, as if we were in her way and we were doing something she felt was wrong. We had the right-of-way, and were already crossing the street as she approached her stop. Unless she wasn't intending to stop, as so many people fail to do at this intersection.
Last year I took a poll at that intersection and counted the cars that sped through or barely stopped. The results were scary, but not unexpected. Out of 100 cars that passed through that intersection, a staggering 20 made no attempt to stop, 38 slowed but rolled through the stop, 22 almost stopped, and 20 came to a full stop. These results are unacceptable. Something needs to be put here to remind drivers that, “Yes, you must stop at the stop sign, regardless of whether you've scanned ahead and saw no other cars at the intersection.” Children get on school buses here, or cross on their way to and from one of the two nearby schools, and many people walking to and from Parc des Cèdres cross there.
With the school season beginning, I've seen a lot of crosswalk signs going up in the middle of the roads to remind drivers to look for pedestrians. It's a shame that it's come to this, but they are effective. I think something like that would be a good addition to the intersection of Front and Brook before something serious happens that forces the city’s hand.