“Senior after senior after senior, now eleven in a row, are being killed on urban crosswalks and roads that neglect to appropriately consider the needs of people who are slower movers…” The tireless Martyn Williams writes an open letter to the people who can and must fix this.
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.
In her letter Brittanny Lynn raises the issues of inaccessible pathways and missing sidewalks in her own community in Pictou County, but we encounter the same problem in many places in rural Nova Scotia. People without cars and people with mobility issues are the ones most affected.
The Nova Scotia government is asking for public feedback by January 8 on 65 pages of regulations which will dictate how roads should be used by the public, and also potentially allow for some safer controls and infrastructure for vulnerable road users. Martyn Williams has some excellent suggestions.
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.
Ray Bates: To move around our communities without the many negative possibilities caused by a nearness to traffic is a physical and mental health-enhancing factor that community decision makers need to recognize and work to develop.
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: There were numerous core concerns raised by stakeholders and by design experts regarding Cogswell’s lack of connectivity, lack of character, and lack of genuine buy-in and involvement from the community and stakeholders. Now we must take time to reconsider Cogswell, before mistakes are made. The new Cogswell just exists on paper right now. Nothing is irreversible.