Q&A - We Need More Marked Crosswalks

Pedestrian Crossing SignLast week on my daily walk, my friend and I were crossing the old Island Highway at the bottom of Bay Street. It looked like we had a lot of time but oddly a younger aggressive driver actually sped up as we were crossing. It was no where a near miss (or hit depending on perspective) but it made me question that there is no crosswalk for close to a kilometer. In order to reach that cross walk we would have to walk with our backs to traffic for that kilometer of busy road.

In Qualicum, from the beginning of Qualicum at the turnoff with the town sign, there is only the one cross walk in front of the Shell gas station at the food of Memorial.

I’ve found that most drivers seem to travel beyond the speed limit on that stretch and wonder aloud if there was ability to put in a few more crossing points?

Comments

Answer

Here is the spot that this person is talking about:

This particular stretch of highway is within the Town of Qualicum Beach and has a posted speed of 50 km/h. The actual travel speeds here are more often than not over this limit.

There are two articles tied together in this topic on Unmarked Crosswalks. It explains what a crosswalk is and links to a bit of case law on how the courts view them.

One would think that having a marked crosswalk would make it safer to cross the highway, but that is not so. This report of an American study on the Safety Effects of Marked Crosswalks shows that on two lane roads there is no difference between a marked and unmarked crosswalk and on multi-laned roads the marked crosswalk is more dangerous than the unmarked one.

Putting a marked crosswalk here would require the co-operation of both the Town of Qualicum Beach and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure as this is a numbered highway within a municipality.

lack of crosswalks

Yes that is the location. In the summer time with a lot of people parking on that right hand side (as you travel to Parksville.)it is even unsafer to walk on that right side as the sidewalk is almost completely taken up by parked cars. It is safer (in my humble opinion)and far more scenic to cross the highway and walk along the sea wall walkway.

It is also dangerous for cyclists along  that stretch as parked cars may suddenly open a door; spearing an unexpecting cyclist. Traffic passing by will sandwich the cyclist between parked and driven cars. Anyway, i digress.

It would be wonderful to have a speed bump and crosswalk at this point or convince all the drivers in the world to slow down and be wary of older less mobile pedestrians or younger unaware types.

Somehow i don't beleive that i am alone in these thoughts on that stretch of old Island Highway.

To mark or not to mark - that is the question!

A very good point about the relative frequency of pedestrian accidents in marked crosswalks, there.  All too often, they lead pedestrians into a false sense of security; in the City of Vancouver, something like 95% of pedestrian fatalities occur in marked crosswalks, which has to make you think.

And at the location shown, there are no sidewalks, no areas that might definitely be defined as 'improved for the use of pedestrians', so a traffic engineer would be exceedingly reluctant to mark a crosswalk there.  Far better - as in safer - to put the onus on the pedestrians to cross only when they can be confident that it's safe, and never mind the legalities.

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