The City has undertaken crosswalk improvements at several locations around Hamilton, suggesting a new commitment to maintaining and improving walkable infrastructure.
By Ryan McGreal
Published June 07, 2013
Here's a roundup of some work city crews did this week on bolstering crosswalks at several locations around Hamilton.
The City recently painted bumpouts and zebra crossings at the corner of Herkimer and Locke. According to Kelly Anderson, spokesperson for the Public Works department, the next step is to install "knockdown sticks", or flexible bollards, along the bumpout lines.
[Knockdown sticks] are retro reflective silver on a white stick and are about three feet high. They can be knocked down by a vehicle or by hand and will stand back up by themselves.
The total cost to paint the crossings and bumpouts and install the knockdown sticks is approximately $6,000. If the City determines that this is a successful strategy to make intersections safer and more accommodating for pedestrians, this is a very affordable method to apply to other intersections.
It should be noted that the City already has painted bumpouts marked by bollards in on Sterling Street Westdale. The following photo is from the City's Cycling web page.
Painted bumpouts with bollards on Sterling Street (Image Credit: City of Hamilton)
This raises the question: how many more times does the City need to pilot bumpouts and bollards before determining that this is a good policy to adopt more widely?
Also in Westdale, the City is "experimenting" with a block crosswalk at Sterling Street and Forsyth Avenue North, just outside the Sterling Street entrance to McMaster University.
In partnership with McMaster, the City has painted zebra crossings at the intersection to make the crosswalk more visible to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists alike. The City was gracious enough to take a photo of the intersection and send it to us.
Zebra crossings at Sterling and Forsyth (Image Credit: City of Hamilton)
The work on that intersection was completed earlier this week. It would be great to see zebra stripes applied to crosswalks more generally.
Also this week, Public Works re-painted several crosswalks on Cumberland Avenue in the Hamilton's St. Clair neighbourhood. According to Anderson, the lines were re-painted as part of the City's annual maintenance program.
Newly painted crosswalks at Cumberland and Norway (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
Newly painted crosswalks at Cumberland and Prospect (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
Not all the crosswalks have been repainted, however. The crosswalk at Cumberland and Sherman is still faded.
Faded crosswalk markings at Cumberland and Sherman (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
It is not yet entirely clear whether the Traffic Department has rethought the stance, held since at least 2002, that an intersection without a signalized pedestrian crosswalk provides no protection to pedestrians under the Highway Traffic Act and should therefore be discouraged.
As a result of this policy, the department has allowed painted crosswalks at unsignalized intersections across the City to fade into 'ghost crosswalks' that make it unclear to pedestrians and motorists alike whether pedestrians have the right of way.
However, the Act clearly defines a "crosswalk" as any intersection of two streets, regardless of whether it is marked, stop-signed or signalized or even has curbs. It also defines a "crosswalk" as a portion of a roadway marked as a pedestrian crossing "by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface".
For this reason, it is particularly interesting to note that the City has also repainted the crosswalks at Maplewood and Maplewood, where there is not a stop sign.
Painted crosswalks with yellow crosswalk sign at Springer and Maplewood (Image Credit: Jason Leach)
According to the Traffic department's previous policy on crosswalks, they would have refused to repaint it since there are neither stop signs nor signals to control the intersection.
with files from Jason Leach
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