Councillors back Edmonton crosswalk funding boost
Funds would come from photo radar reserve.
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City councillors are backing a plan that would see $4.8 million from the photo radar fund improve crosswalks considered risky for pedestrians.
Members of the community and public services committee voted to support the plan Monday--which would still need council approval--after city staff presented a new report that showed 380 crosswalks need $45 million in repairs.
Of that number, 70 crosswalks were identified as ‘high priority.'
Intersections are classified as critical when large numbers of cars driving at high speeds pass through them, posing a significant risk to pedestrians, according to city staff.
Coun. Bryan Anderson tasked city administration late last year with determining which crosswalks needed upgrades.
“I’m appalled we have 380 intersections on arterial roads (that need improvements),” he told the committee Monday.
The money would come from the photo radar reserve, a fund that collects money generated by speeding tickets caught on camera.
Gerry Shimko, the city’s traffic safety executive director, couldn’t say which crosswalks on the list of 70 will get fixed first.
However, he said the city has prioritized 15 crosswalks that will be improved this year. They include areas around NAIT, Rogers Place and the Clareview Community Recreation Centre.
“We’ll be able to deal with those right away,” Shimko said. “As we look at the other 70, they’ll have a whole city-wide application.”
The upgrades could include amber flashing signs or other signals, or curb and median extensions.
Anna Ho, with pedestrian advocacy group Paths for People, said she likes seeing more funding, but wonders if some crosswalks will get more safety improvements than others.
“Will it be different at every one or will there be a minimum standard?” she said. “We need things like raised crosswalks, curb extensions, and improvements in signals to improve the safety at marked crosswalks.”
The $4.8 million would add to the current $4 million* already budgeted for crosswalk improvements, meaning all 70 will be addressed.
The move to renovate crosswalks using photo radar funds will require council approval when they meet next Tuesday at city hall.
Correction: a previous version of this article didn't include that the city had $4 million already budgeted for crosswalk improvements so that all 70 could be addressed.