Special Report: Walkable Streets

City Opens First New Pedestrian Crossover (PXO)

The new PXO at Limeridge Road East and the Escarpment Rail Trail is the first of more than thirty to be installed before the end of 2017.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 19, 2016

This article has been updated.

The City of Hamilton just officially opened its first new Pedestrian Crossover (PXO) at the intersection of Limeridge Road East and the Escarpment Rail Trail.

Pedestrian Crossover at Limeridge Road East and Escarpment Rail Trail
Pedestrian Crossover at Limeridge Road East and Escarpment Rail Trail

A PXO is a type of crosswalk that provides a controlled street crossing in which pedestrians have the right of way. PXOs are distinct from other types of controlled crossings: crosswalks at signalized intersections, crosswalks at intersections with stop signs, and designated school crossings with a crossing guard present.

Under a new Ontario law, when a pedestrian is crossing at a PXO, drivers and cyclists must stop for the pedestrian and wait until the pedestrian has completely crossed the roadway before proceeding through the intersection.

The City of Hamilton has produced a short video explaining the new rules:

I'm especially excited about the new street sign at the PXO:

New traffic sign: Stop For Pedestrians
New traffic sign: Stop For Pedestrians

A few years ago, City staff were seriously considering putting up signs at pedestrian crossovers that read: "Caution - Vehicles Not Required to Stop".

In part, the change has to do with the Ontario Government updating the Ontario Traffic Manual, specifically Book 15 [PDF], which covers Pedestrian Crossing Facilities and now includes a new set of tools municipalities can use for PXOs.

The new signage directing drivers and cyclists to stop for pedestrians is a new provincial standard and will be in place in municipalities across Ontario.

However, the push for new PXOs in Hamilton also reflects our Public Works Department's new commitment to safer, more inclusive streets after many years of neglecting the needs of pedestrians for safe transportation infrastructure.

New PXO Designs

The City of Hamilton stopped using the old-style PXOs several years ago, citing a 2007 study from Toronto which found that the old PXOs conferred a false sense of security on pedestrians and had a poor safety record.

Old-fashioned PXO at Orchard Park in Toronto (RTH file photo)
Old-fashioned PXO at Orchard Park in Toronto (RTH file photo)

The new PXO designs are intended to address the safety issues with the old PXOs.

Depending on the local context, a PXO might also have a push-button to activate flashing amber beacons or overhead hanging signs.

The section of Limeridge Road East where this first PXO has been installed is very low in automobile traffic - something on the order of around 2,000 cars a day or less - so the design just has the pavement markings, ladder crosswalk and Stop For Pedestrians sign.

First of Many

This is the first of over 30 PXOs the city plans to install by the end of summer, 2017.

Here is a map and list of PXO locations, created from the list of planned PXO installations on the City's Pedestrian Crossovers page:

PXOs planned for 2016-7 (Image Credit: Google Maps)
PXOs planned for 2016-7 (Image Credit: Google Maps)

According to the City, another 10-12 PXOs will be installed before the end of this year, followed by 20 or more next year.

Staff will be preparing another list of locations to be installed between the fall of 2017 and the summer of 2018.

This is a welcome change from the news back in April that the City only planned to install three or five PXOs this year.

Mobile speed radar at Herkimer and Queen, one of the PXO locations, in April of this year (RTH file photo)
Mobile speed radar at Herkimer and Queen, one of the PXO locations, in April of this year (RTH file photo)


Update: This article originally stated that the list of 20 PXO locations for 2017 would be installed by the end of the year. City staff have clarified these locations are set to be installed by the end of summer 2017. Another list of locations is being developed that will be installed between fall 2017 and summer 2018. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2016 at 14:50:15

I'm thinking that all the various highway-style slip-roads and ramps around the city could use this treatment, since "Yield" signs don't seem to get the driver's attention.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted September 19, 2016 at 15:30:37

Not much of good news story if you live in the lower city east of James.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 19, 2016 at 21:17:47 in reply to Comment 120067

I'm really surprised by this. First of all, great news story! This is a huge deal for safety in Hamilton.

Having said that, I luckily saved email correspondence with Mr Ferguson where it was mentioned that Queen/Napier would see one of these installed in 2017. Will push hard for that to be added to the list. No safe crossing at the moment of Queen all the way from Cannon to King.

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 19:35:43 in reply to Comment 120068

received word back that Queen/Napier will be in the late 2017/early 2018 round of PXO installations. Great news

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 21, 2016 at 09:54:34 in reply to Comment 120076

Yay! Although it does have a small downside that, not being a full light, I don't think they'll be able to get rid of the "no straight through" sign that every cyclist ignores because it's dumb.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 07:59:59

Binbrook appears to have a lot of clout. Look at that map!

Or perhaps Binbrook has been terrorized by car drivers for so long they finally said, "Enough!"

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By SusanHill (registered) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 10:26:59 in reply to Comment 120069

I believe Mr. Ferguson lives in Binbrook. Too bad he doesn't live on Queen St.

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 09:28:02 in reply to Comment 120069

I'm not sure why the one at Fall Fair Way and Highway 8 is even on the list. That is a controlled intersection with traffic lights. Of if the light is green, traffic has to yield to pedestrians? That will be confusing!

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 09:16:54

Once again it appears that the Ward 10 Councillor is being allowed to (mis)appropriate funds earmarked for a very worthy project for a project of her choosing that does not fit the criteria. Grays Road at Jasper Drive is a school crossing zone . It should fall under the School Zone Safety Program and proper, safer changes made.(like a crossing guard, School Zone signs, etc)

For PXO crossovers the following criteria (among other things) must be met:
-pedestrian facilities on both sides of the road
- accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, compliant curb cut and sidewalk depressions at the crossing; and
- not within 200 metres of another crossing control treatment (unless traffic volumes are high)
That location, which doesn't have sidewalks on the east side) does not fit the above criteria for a PXO crossover and spending funds there takes away from the many other locations that are on the wait list.
More importantly, the residents deserve a proper School Zone change for the safety of their children and not one that is just good enough.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 11:21:23 in reply to Comment 120070

But that's Hamilton's motto: "Good enough for the likes of you."

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By JasonL (registered) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 09:24:15

I'm glad to see a plethora of locations city-wide. Will help drivers get used to them. But it is odd to see not a single PXO planned in the entire lower city between Locke St and Grays Road. That's 12.5km apart. Hopefully the fall 2017-spring 2018 round will hit up the lower city.

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By Suburbanite (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2016 at 09:55:57 in reply to Comment 120071

For the most part, I think the Councillors in those Wards were ahead of the PXOs and spent quite a bit in the last few years making the streets safer with laddered crosswalks, 40 km zones, stop signs and such. It would be great though if all laddered crosswalks were converted to PXOs - appears to be a minor change to convert; just a new sign and some painted arrows on the road.

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