Find a small safety issue and apply some elbow grease and work to find a good solution.
That’s what a Sidney resident did recently, taking it upon herself to work with her peers to take action on a concern they had with pedestrian safety in town.
What’s great about this, is the Sidney resident is only 14 years old and felt empowered and confident enough to approach her elected officials — who are much older than she is — and ask nicely for some help.
Emma Jackson, a member of the 1st Sidney Pathfinders, took a Sparks group out and they surveyed pedestrian safety issues between the Sidney Scout and Guide Hall on Third Street and the local library. Along the route, they looked at crosswalks, sight lines, signals, signs and visibility. Overall, they found Sidney is pretty darn safe — when pedestrians and drivers act together to avoid trouble.
Where they found a need for change is in the intersection near the Guide Hall at Bevan Avenue and Third Street. There are no painted crosswalks to get from one side of Bevan to the other — and to the Hall.
While it’s fine for adults to cross (as long as they look both ways, of course) without the crosswalk, Jackson, her mom and dad and Girl Guide leader Tamara Fraser say children want that added security of knowing where to cross — and where drivers expect to look out for people.
So, Jackson presented a petition to council, made an impassioned speech and requested new crosswalks. The town will paint the crosswalks, says Mayor Larry Cross — clearly happy that a younger member of his community made the effort to better their neighbourhood.
The experience of seeing their efforts come to fruition will, hopefully, create a new voter or two down the road and perhaps encourage more participation in local democracy.
There’s hope for the younger generation yet.