A Yellowknife MLA cited safety concerns when calling for an illuminated crosswalk between the legislature and Nova Hotel this week, but the transportation minister has yet to make any firm commitments.
On Monday, Yellowknife North MLA Cory Vanthuyne accused the territorial government of ‘putting the public at risk’ by not taking pedestrian safety seriously enough along Highway 4.
That stretch of road is under the ownership, operation, and maintenance of the territory’s Department of Transportation.
With more traffic in the area than ever before, Vanthuyne says it’s time to invest in public safety.
“I continue to get correspondence from concerned citizens with regard to the safety of that stretch,” he said. “Now we have two hotels there with visitors as well as higher vehicle traffic in the area.
“It’s becoming really concerning given that there is no delineations on the roadway whatsoever right now as it relates to painted lines.
“As we’re getting into the darker days, this is all very problematic and troublesome as it relates to public safety.”
Wally Schumann, the territory’s transportation minister, says his department is actively working on this file and continually bringing stakeholders into the process.
“We are working on this,” he said. “We’ve met with the City of Yellowknife, user groups from Niven Lake and we will continue to meet with them.”
“We want to move forward with painting the lines on the highway, weather permitting, and this would be including the line along the edge of the highway where people can walk.
“We are committed to doing that within the next coming weeks.”
But Vanthuyne says meetings with the city and other stakeholders haven’t gone far enough, and that the government needs to make safety a priority sooner rather than later.
“The bottom line is, this stretch of road is under the ownership, operation, and maintenance of the Department of Transportation,” he said.
“It is their budget that needs to be invested in the public safety of this highway. We are putting people at risk.”
When asked directly if he would commit to an illuminated crosswalk in the area, Schumann said his department would have to bring user groups together and conduct a traffic study first.