Q&A - Crossing Cook Street in Victoria

Q&A ImageQUESTION: @JohnsonStBRDG asked on Twitter about crossing the intersection of Cook Street and Oxford Street in Victoria. He wants to cross Cook directly on the south side of Oxford instead of walking the U shaped path indicated by the marked crosswalks that is assisted by the traffic lights. Is it legal to do this?

ANSWER: Let's start with the crosswalk:

"crosswalk" means

(a) a portion of the roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface, or

(b) the portion of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connection of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on the opposite sides of the highway, or within the extension of the lateral lines of the sidewalk on one side of the highway, measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway;

There are 3 crosswalks in this intersection, 1 marked across Cook on the north side of Oxford and 2 unmarked, one across Cook on the south side of Oxford and the other across Oxford. Pedestrians crossing Cook Street on the north side of Oxford Street are assisted by traffic signals but those choosing the south side are not. Pedestrians with mobility issues are discouraged as curb let downs are not present for the south side.

There are no traffic control devices (signs) present to forbid pedestrians from crossing.

The complication here is the bus stop on the west side of Cook Street and it is likely the reason for the lack of curb let downs on the southeast corner. As implemented, a bus driver violates two provisions of section 189 MVA:

When vehicle stopping prohibited

189 (1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with traffic or to comply with the law or the directions of a peace officer or traffic control device, a person must not stop, stand or park a vehicle as follows:

(c) in an intersection, except as permitted by a sign;

(e) on a crosswalk;

As an aside, the Streets and Traffic Bylaw does not mention a red curb, but parking information on the Visitor in Victoria website does explain that:

Yellow curbs are no parking zones.  Red curbs indicated bus stops. White curbs are loading zones for permitted commercial vehicles and are also marked with signs as to what times they are in use.

The bus stop may be the reason that the city did not mark and control both sides of the intersection.

So, to make a long story short, as it is constructed today, there is no legal reason why you should not use the shorter route to cross the street.