Jasper and Whyte crosswalk improvement underway
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As a group concerned with pedestrian safety on Whyte Avenue prepares to host a day of action Friday, the city is already improving several crosswalks on both Whyte and Jasper Avenue.
Traffic operations spokesperson Laura McNabb said there are four crosswalks on Jasper Avenue—at 113 Street, 115 Street, 119 Street and 120 Street—and two on Whyte Avenue—at 100 Street and 82 Street—that have been updated with “pedestrian activated traffic lights.”
The city is installing regular red-yellow-green traffic lights that change at the push of a button from pedestrians.
“They stay green unless there’s a pedestrian,” McNabb said. “Right now these are all zebra crosswalks. This is a step beyond that and even the flashing light ones… this is a full traffic stop.”
The change comes after city council adopted new crosswalk guidelines in June to comply with national standards.
McNabb said the city identified more than 100 crosswalks that would benefit from this treatment, and plans to install 10 to 15 each year. She estimates each set of lights costs around $100,000.
Coun. Michael Oshry said councillors share safety concerns with the people of Edmonton and would roll out the new crosswalks faster if possible, but “the challenge with this is, obviously, money.”
“(They) are surprisingly expensive to put in and there are more crosswalks than we have money for,” he said. “The city prioritizes them based on a bunch of different criteria.”
McNabb said the new Jasper crosswalks will be working by September, while the two on Whyte will be ready by the end of October and December, respectively.
In 2014, there were approximately 345 pedestrian collisions in the city.