An overpass for students from the new high school in Duncan to the other side of the highway is a must. (File photo)

An overpass for students from the new high school in Duncan to the other side of the highway is a must. (File photo)

Editorial: Overpass for students from new high school a must

You’re not going to convince teenagers to walk further to use the crosswalk

It comes down to safety.

A new pedestrian walkway over the Trans-Canada Highway from the new high school to the fast food restaurants on the other side is a must. There are also those heading to the other schools across the highway on Beverly Street.

Yes, there is an intersection, with a perfectly usable crosswalk at James Street, not far from where a new overpass would go, but clearly that’s not enough. Students at the old high school on James Street already largely eschew the use of that crosswalk in favour of jaywalking (a.k.a. darting out across four lanes of highway in a dangerous game of chicken) across the road in a more direct line to their destinations.

Bottom line: you’re not going to convince teenagers to walk further to use the crosswalk, rather than make a beeline to their lunch. If it hasn’t happened to date, it’s certainly not going to happen when the new school opens further north of the crosswalk. In the same vein, it’s a pipe dream to think they’d head to the Beverly Street intersection and take the crosswalk there, then walk back to their destination.

So, once we just accept that we’re not going to change the behaviour of the students, as decades of evidence already tells us, we have to decide whether we’re OK with having them run video-game style across a busy highway, or whether we’re going to fork over the money for a safe passage.

We know which one we choose, and it’s the overpass. It’s actually long past time that we get this thing built. It’s been proposed a number of times in the past, by a number of different people. Hopefully, the building of the new school is finally the push needed to make it a reality.

Teens aren’t the only ones who will use such an overpass. Any number of people decide to risk life and limb to run across the lanes of traffic. Anyone who has driven through that area can attest to the phenomenon.

So, let’s get the kids, and everyone else, off the road.

Editorials