VJH nurse says Hospital Hill crosswalk a danger, daily source of anxiety

Hospital Hill 'high anxiety'

A Vernon nurse says something needs to be done about the safety of a crosswalk on the city's busy Hospital Hill.

Following the release of ICBC crash statistics on the most accident-prone intersections and crosswalks in the Okanagan, nurse Manual Fink came forward to say he's almost been struck three times over the past five years as he crossed Highway 97 to get to work at Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

"I work at Vernon Jubilee and need to cross Highway 97 to work," he said. "It is a very dangerous crosswalk... high-speed vehicles and fast-moving trucks never stop for pedestrians." 

Fink says many staff at the hospital live nearby on Vernon's Mission Hill and must cross the highway daily.

"It's very, very dangerous," he said Monday.

"It gives all the nurses anxiety. You wait, and nobody stops. Then, when you get a chance to cross, they're not looking and slam on the brakes right in front of you when they notice."

The crosswalk is not pedestrian controlled, and Fink says being in such a busy location it should have both a push-button control and flashing lights to alert motorists.

"In one instance, they came to a stop just one metre from hitting me while I was in the crosswalk," says Fink. "I had to run to avoid getting hit."

He says he hears the same stories from other staff at the hospital.

"It needs lights, especially in winter when the days are shorter," he said.

While there were no pedestrian collisions at the Hospital Hill crosswalk, crash data from ICBC shows Vernon's worst intersection for pedestrian accidents between 2015 and 2019 was the 25th Avenue and 43rd Street junction, where three pedestrians were hit.

A number of intersections  on 27th Street, 32nd Street and 30th Avenue all had two pedestrian accidents.

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