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Pedestrian safety issues cause concern

Expense creates difficulty in establishing crosswalks

Building crosswalks can be an expensive proposition but City of Powell River will look at the prospect of establishing one at Larry Gouthro Park on Manson Avenue.

The issue was raised because council’s committee of the whole, earlier this year, heard concerns from a resident about the lack of crosswalks on Joyce Avenue. The committee directed city staff to provide a report with recommendations regarding safe crossing on roads.

At a recent committee of the whole meeting, Tor Birtig, director of infrastructure, said staff had developed a brochure to educate the public about crosswalk safety. It outlines the definition of a crosswalk, both marked and unmarked, the proper use of crosswalks, and the guidelines used to determine if a crosswalk is warranted at a particular location.

Birtig noted the city has received various requests for crosswalks. “What staff would like is confirmation on how we go about doing business when it comes to those requests,” Birtig said. “We are seeking a recommendation to continue endorsing the Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual of British Columbia and use that endorsement as a kickoff to commencing further education about not only why we do or don’t put crosswalks where we do, but also on the safe working of crosswalks.”

Birtig said one of the points that is emphasized is stepping onto a roadway on a marked crosswalk does not safeguard pedestrians from vehicles. “We emphasize in the manual to ensure that the vehicle is going to stop before you enter into the crosswalk,” he said. “An example of what we’d like to do is get into education campaigns where we go into schools and make presentations on safe use of crosswalks.”

Discussion turned to the need for a crosswalk leading to Larry Gouthro Park. Mayor Dave Formosa said he has received requests from the public to the point where he is embarrassed there are still no crosswalks serving the park.

“The closest crosswalks are Duncan and Manson, and Alberni and Manson. That park is used by the children,” he said.

Birtig said some new technologies are emerging that provide for less expensive lighting solutions. For example, there are light-emitting diodes that can be installed directly into the pavement in the driver’s line of sight.

“We are looking at some examples of that cheaper technology,” he said. “They can run on solar panels and give us that extra edge of safety.”

Formosa moved that city staff provide a report about what it would take to put a crosswalk at Larry Gouthro Park. The motion carried.

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