Signalized intersections are beyond doubt statistically the most dangerous place to cross the road, especially for people with mobility issues. The vast majority of signalized intersections in Halifax provide no dedicated infrastructure protection at all for pedestrians – just two faded white lanes and a legal right of way. Too many people have been killed there. Tell your councillor things must change.

We are accustomed to weave our way past turning drivers on signalized intersections with a mixture of luck and skill. Signalized intersections are known to be treacherous for vulnerable road users and account for around 40% of pedestrian incidents within the municipality. Yesterday a 75 year-old citizen of Halifax was left with life threatening injuries after being struck on a crosswalk by the driver of a truck.

Martyn Williams: 2020 has been yet another year marked and marred by vulnerable road user fatalities, all of them seniors. An urban or suburban community that can’t support people to move around safely without a car cannot function. People with disabilities, children and seniors in particular are placed in the unwilling position of performing dangerous stunts, using crosswalks that do not meet their unique needs and abilities.

Martyn Williams: A serious incident on a marked crosswalk earlier this week during evening darkness raises several questions. We have known for some time that faded paint and an overhead sign with no flashing lights are woefully inadequate for a main road that likely sees average traffic speeds in excess of 50 km/h, says a lawyer who lives in the area.

With eight incidents involving pedestrians between October 19 and 27 Halifax isn’t getting safer, no matter what councillors tell us. The city’s approach needs an overhaul, involving genuine participation by the community and clearly identifying and prioritizing those most prejudiced by unsafe conditions – children, the disabled, people of colour, seniors and residents in areas of affordable housing, often next to arterial roads, writes Martyn Williams.

Martyn Williams: Seniors rely on walking or cycling for mobility because they may no longer drive for health reasons, or because it is the only way they can enjoy much needed exercise. But the infrastructure they use is built for vehicles to move quickly and easily, not to meet the safety requirements of vulnerable road users of all ages and abilities.

Martyn Williams writes a letter to city staff and councillors to plea for safer intersections for old people and people who live with disabilities. “This is not an issue where engineers may balance the cost to vulnerable road user lives against the benefit gained to traffic flow. It is a human rights issue that requires urgent action and intervention by leadership through appropriate policy.”