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'I've outrun the odd train': Safe rail crossing is being presented to Saskatoon council Tuesday

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Keeping pedestrians safe in Pleasant Hill is the goal of a proposed pedestrian walkway over the rail tracks being presented to council this week.

The transportation committee will see the design concept for a railway crossing in the west industrial area at 19th street and Avenue N — an area which sees a lot of pedestrian traffic.

Fred Martin lives in west industrial area and walks the area daily.

“I’ve outrun the odd train,” Martin told CTV News.

That’s not something Martin recommends, but with train tracks a block from his house often the only route, he admits it does happen.

“I had a railway man in a truck stop me and say this is not a path. He says, cross at the intersection, but everyone uses it as a pass,” according to Martin.

Fred Martin lives in west industrial area and walks the area daily.

It’s a safety concern for residents, especially parents whose kids walk to school nearby.

“They’re concerned about their children going to St. Mary’s,” he said.

That’s one of the reasons council’s transportation committee will see a report Tuesday detailing a drawing for a safer crossing over the railway tracks beside the school.

At this stage it’s just being put forth as information. It was a resident who first brought this proposal to light two years ago.

“There are lots of folks who cross there already, we can see the trails through the snow. So I brought that forward to council and administration has been working with CP Rail to see if there’s a crossing design that could work for everybody,” Ward 2 Councillor, Hillary Gough told CTV News.

Gough says, the name of the area “west industrial” doesn’t reflect the volume of pedestrian traffic there.

“Sounds like an industrial area. There are houses being built right behind us. More and more people are living in this area, and so we need to provide residential level access to the area,” she says.

The issues don’t end there because the nearest safe and legal crossing for pedestrians is blocks away.

“This gap in terms of where you can legally cross is big and unusually big in terms of the whole stretch of rail here,” she said.

This crossing, if completed as suggested, would connect the west central corridor pathway which is a safe pathway along the railway tracks. It runs from Idylwyld Drive, following the train tracks through to the Meadowgreen neighbourhood. That pathway is already underway with a portion completed near Idylwyld.

While this project is still years away from being concrete, according to Gough, it could now be a small step closer to reality for those who live here. The presented crossing is on the City of Saskatoon Website

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