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Crosswalks come under discussion at City of Powell River meeting

Councillors reviewed correspondence about a refresh for a Pride crosswalk, a new Pride crosswalk and the danger at a crosswalk near Westview Elementary School
CONCERNS RAISED: The crosswalk at Joyce Avenue and Nootka Street came up in discussion at City of Powell River’s committee of the whole, with resident Robert Hill asking for a reduction in speed limit to make the stretch of road near Westview Elementary School safer.

City of Powell River councillors received correspondence expressing concerns about city crosswalks.

At the March 14 committee of the whole meeting, councillors reviewed correspondence from Robert Hill, who wrote about a refresh for the Pride crosswalk in Townsite, a new Pride crosswalk at Powell River Recreation Complex, and the danger at the crosswalk at the Nootka Street and Joyce Avenue intersection near Westview Elementary School.

Councillor Cindy Elliott moved receipt of the email and requested a staff update.

Councillor Earl Almeida said this was the third piece of correspondence regarding crosswalks to be received by councillors in the last month or so. A third crosswalk outlined was a planned crossing at Alberni Street and Ontario Avenue.

Almeida said he was curious about the designation of the area by Powell River Christian School as a park, which would extend the hours of a 30-kilometre an hour limit along that section of Joyce Avenue.

Director of infrastructure Tor Birtig said with respect to the Alberni and Ontario crosswalk that is going to be installed, the city is waiting for appropriate weather to put in the crossing. Birtig said it is hoped the project can begin this spring if the weather keeps up.

He said regarding the roadway adjacent to the Christian school, there was consultation with Westview Ratepayers Society and Powell River RCMP, the city’s operations and engineering groups, and after review an operational change was devised, so the Joyce Avenue section was changed from a school zone to a playground zone.

Councillor Trina Isakson said Hill’s correspondence was asking about the possibility of doing something similar at Joyce and Nootka, by Westview Elementary.

Birtig said the technical issue there is that it is not adjacent to a playground zone, so it would be an arbitrary zone change. Overhead lighting was installed at the crosswalk according to standards. Birtig said the city hasn’t been made aware of issues at that crosswalk, and in speaking to the RCMP, they didn’t feel there was a significant issue there.

“What we would do in this case is continue to monitor, so we can bring it back to council if modifications are warranted, or if the existing is adequate,” said Birtig.

Regarding the Townsite Pride crosswalk, he said it is refreshed on an annual basis. There was a request a few years ago for an additional Pride crosswalk and one of the options that came up was having it near the recreation complex.

Birtig said staff is looking for clearer direction from city council as to what type of crosswalk would be put in. He said the one in Townsite near the Patricia Theatre is a variety of colours placed inside of the standard zebra crossing. He added that there have been problems sourcing out paint.

Councillor Rob Southcott said he appreciates that the speed zone by the Christian school has changed from a school zone to a park zone. He said he was pretty sure that means the 30-kilometre per hour speed limit has changed from school hours to dawn to dusk.

Councillor Cindy Elliott asked if there could be a clear painting in the Nootka and Joyce crosswalk indicating that there was only one lane, because people sometimes treat it like it has a turn lane, and that is causing danger for children.

Birtig said the city will look at the intersection to see if there is any curbing or painting that can be done. He said traffic gets backed up if there is a left turn.

“We are having a look at that,” added Birtig.

The committee voted to receive the correspondence.

Elliott then made a motion for staff to bring back a report on a prospective Pride crosswalk at the recreation complex. The motion carried, with Almeida opposed, indicating that it was not the best use of resources.