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Crosswalk safety

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  • Crosswalk safety

    Somewhere in Edmonton they buried lights in the pavement under a crosswalk. Neat idea. However it was VERY costly.

    Instead why not do it on the cheap - attach overhead spot-lights aimed at the crosswalk from up high on either side of the crosswalk? (either on the same pole via "T" or "Y" attachments, nearby poles or via a line strung across the road)

    Basically turn each crosswalk 'standard' into a "T" (perpendicular to the line of the crosswalk). At the tips of the "T" would be a couple spotlights (HD LEDs?) aimed down at the crosswalk. Any extra light is better than none.

    I'd also put reflective stripping on the poles so everything stands out better.

    Ideally, some sort of white background, reflective diagonal-hrozontal cross bar(s), etc. would highlight the presence of someone standing or moving across it.

    (In the UK they have 3' white plastic pods/boxes (illuminated?) at the edges and on the medians.)

  • #2
    Transportation & Streets looked at the lights in the road feature and decided that snow and and graders would make the lights useless in Edmonton. What they did do is put in crosswalk lights that flash and shine down into the crosswalk. You will find these at 106 St. and Whyte Avenue and at 108 St. and Whyte Avenue.


    • #3
      Explains why I never did see the lights in the pavement anywhere. I'll have to go look at the City's work.

      So are my comments then redundant? Or is there any value to the suggestions, over and above (no pun intended) what the City's done on Whyte?


      • #4
        I just want to see one crosswalk on the corner of 113th and Jasper.


        • #5
          Visibility is a major issue in crosswalk collisions. Typically, cities do not light the crosswalks. Light standards are designed and placed for car traffic, the first standard starting several feet away from the corner. There have been reports that have recommended that lights be directed onto crosswalks. The City has done, and is doing, safety audits on some of its main roadways. They are testing and implementing safety features in areas of high collision rates or risk. That is how Whyte Avenue was made the test area for the pedestrian lighting. The crosswalk at 106 St. was particularily dangerous. The light on both corners was so low that drivers did not see a pedestrian until he was in the middle of the crosswalk. The lights are quite effective. When the pedestrian activates the light, the whole strip from corner to corner lights up (or more accurately, down). Having said that, pedestrians who insist on wearing dark colours and taking their right of way at night need to make sure that their wills are up to date.

          I agree that crosswalks without signals need to have some sort of reflective material or paint.

          As for 113th St. and Jasper, it is a nightmare intersection. This was an issue a year or two ago but I don't know where that went. Call both ward councillors - Michael Phair and Jane Batty. Someone in their offices can give you the city's rating on that intersection (#of kills and injuries) and you can start a neighbourhood lobby to get a pedestrian light. Ask the councillors' assistants why there is no light there and where in the order of priorities the pedestrian light stands. Don't let them give you that garbage about city policy not allowing lights on two consecutive intersections. That is a suburban standard. Jasper Avenue has lights on every intersection from 97 St. to 109 St.


          • #6
            I like a lot of what I am hearing, but we also need to re-enforce responsibility on the part of the pedestrian.

            After all, 140 lbs loses against 6,600 lbs. Keep your head up, as an epitaph that says, "But I had the right of way!" is still an epitaph...
            President and CEO - Airshow.


            • #7
              As an Oliver resident who is a weekday pedestrian and weekend driver, I can appreciate both sides of the crosswalk debate. I also happen to make the twice-daily trek down Jasper Avenue, from 114 Street to 102 Street.

              I agree wholeheartedly with reinforcing responsibility on the part of pedestrians. Too many simply walk into the street hoping drivers will see them. I reckon a 'simple' cure for this culture of invincibility is for pedestrians to experience life in a country where traffic drives on the left and/or in a jurisdiction where pedestrians do not have a legislated right of way. That situation forces one to really watch traffic and make sure drivers are paying attention.

              That said, I can see why there are so many close calls at some intersections in the city. Take the Jasper & 113 Street area for example. There is a lot of 'visible noise' in the area (signs, accessory lighting, etc), cars usually parked right up to the intersection, and six lanes of traffic. Two simple items that could help are 1) a sort of pedestrian refuge in the middle of the roadway (so pedestrians only have to worry about one direction of traffic at a time) and 2) highly reflective paint or tape on the crosswalk signs (as an outline) and on the supporting posts (complete with a sign in the middle of the road (on the refuge).


              • #8
                And in the old days, it was common knowledge among drivers of trucks, pick-ups, etc. to know enough to stop back a ways from the crosswalk to improve visibility for other drivers - todays' SUV drivers are relative amateurs - coming right up to intersections and crosswalks blocking the view for lower vehicles passing or needing to turn.

                ...but crosswalks still need improved design tricks to "design out the problem".

                We REALLY need some effort at creative thought to take place.


                • #9
                  As for the Joey/Sicilain crossing Death Trap on Jasper, that one is used so much, it needs to be lighted...period...

                  That one not being lighted yet lights on a rather small crosswalk on 116th and 102 ave is just silly. Light them both!
                  President and CEO - Airshow.


                  • #10
                    Would just doubling up certain street lights (not the poles) above or beside crosswalks be a cheap solution? Many/most corner light standards have two support arms each with a light.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RichardS
                      I like a lot of what I am hearing, but we also need to re-enforce responsibility on the part of the pedestrian.

                      After all, 140 lbs loses against 6,600 lbs. Keep your head up, as an epitaph that says, "But I had the right of way!" is still an epitaph...
                      How about reinforcing "wiliness" on the part of pedestrians....It really is the responsibility of the motorist to stop when the pedestrian has right of way. Even if it is ultimately in the self-interest of the pedestrian to do something when the motorist fails to stop, he is still technically doing the motorist a favour.
                      City Centre Airport is to the sky as False Creek is to the ocean.


                      • #12
                        ...but you're still dead. In that case, I'll look twice...and then again for good measure.
                        President and CEO - Airshow.


                        • #13
                          If all it took was better education - we wouldn't require crosswalks at all. However, note how many seniors get taken out at crosswalks - yet they have a lifetime of experience and still get hit.

                          I think the goal though is to design streets to increase the overall predictability and driver/pedestrian recognition of each other's presence, rate of speed, etc. Drivers expect certain things at intersections but also have a number of distractions there as well. At night they probably don't expect pedestrians - especially slow moving darkly dressed senior types. In other cases it's the small, fast moving children...


                          • #14
                            I think our crosswalk system needs better sense.

                            There should be no unsignalled crosswalks, nor should there be red-light crosswalks. Amber lights are the way to go.

                            There is no need for crosswalks that just a few steps away from a signalled intersection. The one across 109 St just north of Whyte is a prime example.

                            And for the love of God, remove the crosswalks from major commuter routes. Does it make sense for unsignalled crosswalks going across 5 lanes of Gateway Blvd or 6 lanes of Kingsway? With that many lanes, a skywalk across the road would be better.
                            “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JeffB
                              a sort of pedestrian refuge in the middle of the roadway (so pedestrians only have to worry about one direction of traffic at a time)
                              I love that refuge idea! However, I think it should be a part of a solution, where the other part is that cars have the right of way not the pedestrian.

                              Roads are designed for cars. That's why pedestrians can only expect safety at controlled intersections and controlled crosswalks. Controlled crosswalks being those where the pedestrian pushes a button and turns the lights red to force traffic to actually stop.

                              In places where the pedestrian lights are not warranted because traffic is not heavy enough, the pedestrian refuge can be used. But even there, the pedestrian should wait until it is clear and not expect traffic to stop for him/her.

                              About 20 years ago the city of Toronto implemented these fancy cross walks that would shine lights down onto the pedestrians. They were very visible but did nothing to lower the rate of accidents. Those types of things are useless.

                              The only solution is to take away the false sense of security that pedestrians now have by taking away their "right of way".