“My purpose here today is to save lives.” 

That’s from Bob Barrow, a community activist in Steinbach. 

Barrow spoke with Steinbach City Council about his hopes to have rapid flashing low level pedestrian lights installed at two different crosswalks in Steinbach. 

He has been trying to get these installed for around three years, after hearing about a young boy who died in Winnipeg. 

“An eight-year-old boy got killed crossing St. Anne's (Road). Three cars stopped, one didn't, the one that didn't stop hit him and killed him.” 

The two locations that Barrow is asking these lights to be installed are on Main Street by the Great Canadian Dollar Store, and on Highway 12 by 7-Eleven.

“Both very busy roads, as you all know.” 

The low level lights Barrow hopes to have installed would be around seven feet tall, which he says are very difficult for vehicles to miss. 

They would be on both sidewalks and in the middle of the median. 

Barrow says shortly after he initially brought this up around three years ago, a young man was hit on Main Street.

“Because the sun was in the eyes of the driver. He was driving West, the sun was in his eyes, he didn't see the kid crossing.” 

He adds that more recently, on December 15, he witnessed three young girls crossing the crosswalk on Main Street. 

"Unfortunately, the fourth car didn't stop. But the girls had just stepped off the median at the time, or we could have lost three kids in a matter of seconds, had the timing been different.” 

Barrow says he is not the only person who recognizes the need for this. 

“I did talk to the people that work at Jodoin’s Law, and they tell me there are events taking place in that crosswalk all the time... horns honking, tires screeching, kids yelling, drivers yelling and screaming.” 

Barrow says he hasn’t heard back from Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure after years of waiting, and council has been in conversation with Barrow for a while regarding the installation of these lights.

Mayor Earl Funk is hopeful that having Barrow's presentation at council will make a difference. 

“I thought it was time to bring him to a council meeting and present in front of us and see if there's something we can do.” 

Following Barrow’s presentation, council passed a motion to support the request from Bob Barrow by writing a letter to Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure.

Councillor Michael Zwaagstra is hoping that the province will get these lights installed. 

“This is not directly within city jurisdiction because this is a provincial highway, but I think by the City adding its voice to the request and letting the province know about it, and also the fact that this will also get into the news, I think these are all good ways of adding profile to the request,” he says. “Because obviously, we want to have the safest crossing possible, and if the province is able to make these types of changes, I think this would be very positive.” 

Councillor Bill Hiebert adds he appreciates Barrow’s hard work. 

“Bob, you've been at it for a couple of years. I know that we've talked many times and you're not giving up, and I think this is a good cause. We want our streets to be safe. We want these crosswalks to be safe. So I totally support this letter. Hopefully we can get something done there.” 

Mayor Earl Funk concludes that having these lights installed would make for a safer Steinbach. 

“There is proof here that without any lights on a crosswalk, it can spell tragedy for the person walking. I think this is probably a good way to add another layer of safety at these crosswalks, and I'd like to join Bob in his quest to help make our crosswalks safer for our future, the young kids that are using them.”