Aaron Hinks photo Russell Avenue and Johnston Road intersection.

White Rock flaggers need more focus, resident says

Near-collision between a dump truck and senior with walker reported to city, police

White Rock resident Mischelle Rose says she can no longer stay silent after watching a pedestrian’s close call with a vehicle near a construction site this week.

Rose told Peace Arch News she was driving near an uptown White Rock construction site Tuesday afternoon, when she watched a senior – pushing a bundle buggy – nearly get hit by a dump truck that was “barrelling” down the road.

“I phoned the police,” Rose said, after watching the incident unfold in her rear-view mirror.

Rose also contacted the city. City communications co-ordinator Ashley Gregerson confirmed the complaint was received and said that within five minutes a project manager was on site.

“The project manager found that there was no observable safety hazard, and the crews advised that they were unaware of an incident,” Gregerson said via email.

Rose said it’s not the first time she has either watched or become involved in a near-collision in the city, close to a construction site. And she casts part of the blame on inattentive flaggers.

“Turn up Russell and go to Johnston – good luck. You got a flagger standing there, having a ciggy, on her cellphone with the flag under her arm. It’s 8:30 in the morning, it’s busy… she’s not doing her job,” Rose said.

Gregerson said the city urges the public to approach the “traffic control personnel” on site if they see unsafe situations, “so that they can be dealt with immediately. People can also report any safety hazards to the city.”

Rose said she’s vocalized her concerns to flaggers.

“I get flipped the bird or the F-bomb thrown at me. These people are paid well – I get it, it’s hot, but you shouldn’t be having a ciggy, phone in your hand and flag under your arm.”

Another time, Rose said, she watched as a woman almost drove her vehicle into a fence – “She wasn’t sure where she should go. There was a flagger right there.”

Rose said two neighbours have been injured while walking White Rock streets.

Last week, an 82-year-old White Rock woman contacted PAN to address safety concerns relating to gravel patches on the sidewalk off Johnston Road between Russell Avenue and North Bluff Road. The gravel, she said, is particularly dangerous for a pedestrian using a cane or walker.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin – after being told of the complaint by PAN last Friday – contacted city staff about the concern.

Gregerson said contractors will cover the gravel patches with cold asphalt early next week to “provide a smoother surface during construction.”

“The city recognizes that the temporary surfaces on Johnston Road were difficult to walk on for some people, we are taking steps to make it more pedestrian friendly,” Gregerson said.

She noted the city takes complaints related to public safety “very seriously,” and that city staff immediately follow up directly with the contractor.

Rose told PAN she returned to the site of Tuesday’s near-collision the day after reporting it and noticed the flaggers being more attentive.

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