A new report gives Edmonton a passing grade in how it operates its crosswalks — the same week the sixth pedestrian of the year died after being struck on an Edmonton street.
The pedestrian crosswalk audit released Thursday said “the program is being effectively managed and improving pedestrian safety.”
The report from the city auditor’s office also found that the city could do better at checking whether new street-crossing signals are effective.
The city installed 54 new marked crosswalks and nearly 20 flashing beacons between 2015 and 2016, the report shows.
Gord Cebryk, the branch manager with the department of parks and roads, acknowledged a few areas could be improved.
“We certainly agree with the recommendations and have started to proceed on implementing some of them already,” Cebryk said.
The chair of Paths for People, a pedestrian safety advocacy group, said city council has a positive vision but safety standards need to be higher.
“We think that council is generally moving in the right direction. We just need city administration to catch up,” Conrad Nobert told CBC News Thursday. “We would like the standards tightened up.”
He said the city could listen more to people in the affected communities.
“There could be a neighbourhood where everyone knows that a crossing is dangerous, where there are lots of near-hits. People are stressed out when they try to cross and they’re getting hit or almost hit.”
Nobert said safety goes beyond signals and signs and he would like to see geometric changes to some crosswalks.
“The absolute safest crosswalk you can get is one that has the signals to stop the cars, but also is raised,” Nobert said.
“So that the person walking, they’re elevated in the view of the driver so that they are very obvious when they’re crossing.”
Cebryk said narrowing the roadway as it approaches a crosswalk also works by decreasing the space a pedestrian has to cross and also changes the perception for motorists.
“Typically when you have those narrowings in the roadway, that’s a cue to drivers to either slow down or to pay more attention to what’s happening at the intersection,” Cebryk said, adding that the…