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Niagara Falls
Friday, June 14, 2024
Driver killed on notorious section of Lakeshore Road
The site of the single-vehicle crash that took the life of one person on June 5 is one that nearby residents say has been dangerous for motorists for years, due in part to the presence of a large tree just feet from the roadway. (SUPPLIED)
A memorial for a 49-year-old woman from St. Catharines who, one year ago this month, died after her small SUV struck this tree on Lakeshore Road. (KEVIN MACLEAN)

Frustration over dangerous portion of NOTL road boils over after latest death

 

A single-vehicle crash that took the life of one person early Wednesday on a notorious section of road in Niagara-on-the-Lake has sparked a flurry of mixed emotions from local residents who can agree on at least one thing: the stretch of road is a killer.

Scott Gauld has lived just over a kilometre from the site near Lakeshore and Four Mile Creek roads for more than 10 years. 

In that time he has seen at least one other fatality — on June 10 of last year — when a vehicle left the road and struck a huge tree head-on, just feet from the roadway.

“If that tree wasn’t there, they (drivers) would just run off into the marshy, light-forested area,” said Gauld. 

“There is plenty of room for them to slow down and sink their car into the mud or whatever else is there.”

Gauld said he started reaching out to Niagara Region authorities about taking down the tree just after the 2023 crash and from the lack of response he has received, feels there is no resolve to do anything about it.

“I have been on the phone with the transportation department at the region. I called our regional councillor this morning (Wednesday, June 5) trying to get anybody to make some movement on this, but it has been over a year,” he said in an interview.

He also said he was in contact with the region on May 27 of this year, “Just to say, ‘Hey, where are you guys on this?’ “

The response he got was little more than a brush off, he said.

“I get, ‘Well, we are meeting with our legal department. We are meeting with the roads department.’ “

“Lots of meetings are going on and I wake up this morning and someone else has died.”

Shirley Madsen has lived within a few hundred metres of the crash site for more than 20 years. 

She knows of about seven or eight serious crashes on the stretch of road. There have been multiple causes, including speeding and alcohol, she said.

The opinion that the tree is the culprit, doesn’t fly with her.

“There are other problems on this road,” she said, recounting a serious incident last year when a drunk driver left the road and destroyed her front yard.

“I think it is going to take several different things to correct this situation,” she said.

“You need facts before you try to find a solution. It’s not that I want to save the tree. I don’t think the tree being there is the problem.”

What Madsen would like is some real consultation and action.

“Whether it is reducing speed limits, whether it is putting a stop sign at Niven (Road) or putting a stop sign at Four Mile Creek Road, which might slow down people a little bit.”

wright@niagaranow.com

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