A new report to Edmonton city council says it’ll cost $45 million to equip almost 400 crosswalks in the city with pedestrian signals. The report lists 70 priority locations that can be upgraded over the next three years.
“We are thinking that over three years we can complete all 70,” said Ken Karunaratne, an engineer and technical specialist in road safety with the Office of Traffic Safety. “Currently we are doing about 15. If council approves this money we would do more, so we’ll come up with a plan.”
The 70 locations were ranked based on Transport Canada data. “Collision stats, based on Vision Zero, if there a high number based on pedestrian injuries and fatalities, those would rank very high. Also if you have multiple lanes that pedestrians need to cross. Same with posted speed limits and the traffic volumes.”
Karunaratne said if council approves the spending they’ll review the locations, and select the best type of signal system based on the size of the location. The full signal with red, amber, and green lights costs $150,000 per installation, overhead amber flashing lights come with a price tag of $100,000, and a third option would be rectangular rapid flashing beacons on the side of the road for $20,000 each.
Karunaratne said the beacons are only suitable for two- or four-lane roads, like near schools, because on anything wider, drivers aren’t as likely to see them in operation since they’re only on the side of the road.
Another priority for selecting locations will be based on how many vehicles do left turns. “We looked at the collision data to see what the main cause of collisions (is), so we when you compare collisions involving right turns versus collisions involving left turns, we found a 3:1 ratio for left-turning vehicles.”
Karunaratne said it’s because there is a blind spot immediately to the driver’s left where the windshield and side window meet. “That pillar blocks your view of pedestrians, so because of that drivers sometimes don’t see pedestrians and then they’re involved in collisions.”
Council’s community and public services committee will review the report on Monday.
You can read the report here by going to item 7.1