Audible traffic crosswalk signal motion carried

Nathan Liewicki
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Michael Shaw is urging city council to install an audible traffic signal near his school.

Michael Shaw, a Grade 10 student at Riverview Collegiate, delivered a presentation to members of the Transportation Services Advisory Committee at a meeting Wednesday at City Hall. Shaw is hoping the city decides to install an audible traffic signal at the intersection of Coteau Street and Nine Avenue Southwest.

“I have almost (been) hit going to Mac’s on Coteau Street and Ninth Avenue (Southwest),” Shaw told members of the Transportation Services Advisory Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

A Grade 10 student at Riverview Collegiate, Shaw has a visual impairment and feels traffic at the aforementioned South Hill intersection is “kind of crazy.”

“Some drivers stop for pedestrians and some just don’t stop at the stop signs,” Shaw said. “I would just really like to see some (audible) crosswalks up there in order to make it safer for everyone on South Hill.

“I’m just asking for a signal so people know it’s their time to cross, so they don’t walk into oncoming traffic.”

The key issue Shaw highlighted during his brief presentation was the time allotted for crossing Ninth Avenue Southwest is not long enough.

He originally sent a letter to the mayor’s office on Oct. 3. It was received on Oct. 23, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that Shaw had the opportunity to present his recommendation to committee.

“I didn’t picture it would take this long,” Shaw told the Times-Herald after the presentation.

Despite the length of time it took for the motion to be initially addressed by committee, members struck up quite the discussion regarding Shaw’s proposal.

Committee chair John Parsons said he frequently uses the intersection, although rarely as a pedestrian.

“It’s not a pedestrian friendly intersection because the lights are timed for four-way traffic where it routes only one direction at a time,” Parsons told the committee. “So much traffic is turning at that corner, which compounds the problem for pedestrians because even when they do have the green light, there will be cars crossing the crosswalk.”

Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick noted the problem is not just the timing of the lights.

“To me there’s a multitude of problems at the (intersection),” Kirkpatrick said. “There are other things that factor into his safety, or anyone’s safety when crossing that intersection. So, I think it’s a much bigger issue.”

Parsons agreed with Kirkpatrick.

“Right now pedestrian lights are only on demand,” said Parsons. “In other words, if you don’t push the button, they don’t give you a walk signal.”

In addition, the city’s engineering department estimated a cost of $4,000 to $8,000 to install an audible signal at Coteau Street and Ninth Avenue Southwest like the ones found on Athabasca and Fairford Street intersecting with Main Street North.

The motion was carried to the next meeting where it will be further discussed.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Transportation Services Advisory Committee, Times-Herald

Geographic location: South Hill, Coteau Street, Athabasca Fairford Street

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