The intersection leads to the newly opened Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School and St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School.
On the first few days of school, there was no visible crosswalk lines at the intersection and no crossing guard, let alone the four-way stop he thinks is necessary for student safety.
Staff at Holy Cross were forced to help students to cross the road themselves.
“As parents, we were very surprised to see that,” Nickson said. “In my wildest dreams, I never thought that we wouldn't have a crossing guard on the first day of school.”
After complaints from parents, including Nickson, whose son attends Grade 6 at Holy Cross, a crossing guard was put in place by the City of Greater Sudbury by Sept. 7 — three days after school started.
The city also painted crosswalk lines across Algonquin Sept. 6; however, those lines lead students into the schools' busy driveway, which means they also have to navigate morning traffic to get to the sidewalk on the other side.
Nickson, who presented his concerns at a Sudbury Catholic District School Board meeting Sept. 18, said he was so shocked by what he sees as obvious safety flaws, that he counted the number of vehicles at the intersection one morning.
On Sept. 7, he counted 470 vehicles in the 53-minute period from 8:08 a.m. to 9:01 a.m., including 53 school buses, three city buses and two trucks.
“I could hardly count the amount of traffic that's going in there,” he said.
There's also a city bus stop at the same intersection, meaning cars are driving around idling city buses right where students are trying to cross the road.
There's an increase in traffic on Algonquin not only because of the new Holy Cross School, which houses some 400 students, but because of an additional couple hundred Grade 7 and 8 students at St. Benedict and another addition to house more students at Algonquin Road Public School, he said.
Nickson said he's concerned a student might be hit while crossing the Algonquin-Field intersection.
That's something that troubles the Sudbury Catholic District School Board as well, and trustees expressed their appreciation to Nickson for raising the alarm.
“We always want to hear concerns from our parents, that's for sure,” board chair Barry MacDonald said told Northern Life.
Normally, school boards make requests for better traffic controls through the Sudbury Student Services Consortium, which is responsible for student transportation at all four local school boards, he said.
On Sept. 10, Renée Boucher, executive director of the consortium, did just that in a letter to Dave Kivi, the city's co-ordinator of traffic and transportation.
The consortium wants to see a four-way stop installed at the intersection. What's more, Boucher also asks that sidewalks be installed on the south side of Algonquin Road, from the Algonquin-Rockwood intersection to the Algonquin-Field intersection.
On Sept. 18, the board passed a motion supporting Boucher's request to the city. The board will also be contacting the city to request a four-way stop and that city bus stops be moved away from the intersection.
Asked why this wasn't addressed before school started, MacDonald said the city is supposed to come up with a plan for traffic concerns when they issue building permits. City officials could not be reached for comment on the issue at press time.
“On our property, the concerns for traffic and parking is ours,” he said. “But when the city issues us a building permit to build a school, they dictate what has to happen for traffic around that area.”
When it comes to the lack of properly placed crosswalk lines, MacDonald said the responsibility rests with the school board.
In fact, the board did have crosswalk lines painted across Algonquin (in a safer spot than where the city placed them), but the paint was worn off by the many trucks negotiating the intersection while the school was under construction.
The city then mistakenly painted the crosswalk lines in the wrong area earlier this month, he said.
Rainy weather this month had prevented the school board from repainting the crosswalk lines, MacDonald said. He said he expects the crosswalk lines to be repainted soon.