At approximately 9:12 a.m. on Feb.5, local daycare provider Doreen Maclaren was crossing Townline Road with a small child and was struck by a vehicle turning east from Joseph Street onto Townline Road.
Crossing guard Doris Marquis, who has been helping families go to and from school for over 20 years, said the woman pushed the small child in her care out of the way and took the brunt of the force from the collision. She suffering lacerations, bruises and a serious concussion, which has forced her to be close her daycare during her recovery. “She is off indefinitely, “ according to the GoFundMe page that has been set up for her.
“She is a hero,” said Marquis.
Marquis, or commonly called Miss Doris by the students and adults that use her crossing, dutiful monitors the intersection, which is in a 40 km/hr school safety zone. She knows of at least three close calls in the last month, and she herself has nearly been struck by vehicles on many occasions.
Marquis now wears a small video camera on her jacket to help record any incidents that may occur. Aside from speeding, the most serious issue seems to be vehicles turning from Joseph Street onto Townline Road and driving through the crosswalk before pedestrians have made it safely to the sidewalk.
As of Jan. 1, 2016 all drivers, including cyclists, must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard. Vehicles may only proceed once pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk.
There are two gates that people can use to access the school, one is on Townline and another is on Joseph Street. However, the one on Joseph Street has been closed for several years. In speaking to parents at the school, they aren’t clear as to why the Joseph Street entrance was ever closed. While those who live west of the school would still need to cross Townline, using this entrance would allow for students to enter on a quieter street and eliminate some foot traffic on Townline Road.
Sargent Robert Croth with the Ontario Provincial Police suggested that area parents meet with municipal or county council about their safety concerns. One option would be to request a lower speed limit as was done in the Patterson Street area, or extend the crossing time to allow for more time to cross safely.
Croth stated that there have only been six collisions in the last five years, which is not statistically high, but because the school zone is uniquely situated on a county thoroughfare, it is always well patrolled by area police.
At the time of publication there was no response from St. Gregory’s school council or the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario with regards to this issue.