Crossing_Wesbrook

We are now into the danger months of November, December and January when most pedestrian fatalities occur. Most are at dusk, and most when pedestrians are legally crossing the street.  It is internationally recognized that pedestrians, the most vulnerable road users can benefit from improved road design including raised crosswalks, and shorter crossing distances. Lowering road speed, changing driver behaviour and ensuring good lighting also helps. But Price Tags is exploring  examples from both ends of the country that make streets safer for pedestrians-one bureaucratic, and one flag waving.

The first post is from Victoria British Columbia where elementary students at George Jay Elementary cross the street at Cook Street between Princess and Queens Avenues. Even though there are crosswalk markings and signage vehicles do not slow down at this intersection. The crossing guard (they have those in Victoria) stated  “A lot of close calls. Holding the kid back, and if I didn’t hold the kid back, he would be under the vehicle.”

The Parent Advisory Council say that a child has been struck by a vehicle when crossing Cook Street,  and the answer is to enforce the 30 km/h speed and provide better crosswalk lighting. The City of Victoria unfortunately provided CTV news  with a pretty bureaucratic response. Warning that improvements could cost up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, data was necessary to ensure that improvements were needed. Fair enough. But then the City stated that adding infrastructure might not make the intersection safer.

It is proven that slowing vehicles, creating raised crosswalks and reducing the crossing  distance does make intersections safer for pedestrians. This intersection is also on the rise of a hill and traffic needs to be slowed down by consistent speed enforcement. None of this is rocket science, and the injury or a death of a pedestrian should not be necessary to immediately improve walking access to this primary school.

Could a municipality  create and keep a pop-up  “Crosswalk Safety Kit” of  temporary bollards, stencils, latex paint, signage and enhanced police enforcement that could rotate among schools with crossing challenges? What other remedies could assist in making crosswalks safer for the most vulnerable users?

Image: UBC.ca

Comments

  1. “In all likelihood, the injury or a death of a child will be the impetus to finally improve walking access to this primary school.”

    Fixed if for you. 🙂

  2. It was a Vicnews.com story first and, also, who cares about George Jay. If Cook Street was such a major artery they would have left street cars on it.

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