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Fort St. John crosswalks to display ‘walk’ symbol by default

A green traffic light in Fort St. John with the pedestrian walk signal lit. Photo by Chris Newton
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Crosswalks in Fort St. John will be getting a bit more pedestrian-friendly in the near future after councillors voted in favour of modifying intersections to display the ‘walk’ symbol by default.

Earlier this month, Council voted in favour of a motion by Mayor Lori Ackerman for staff to look at ways of making intersections in Fort St. John more pedestrian-friendly. The Mayor’s motion was made in the wake of recommendations from Urban Systems on how to improve the quality of life in Fort St. John during the winter months.

At Monday’s council meeting, Integrated Services General Manager Victor Shopland recommended that staff modify the traffic control signals to allow for non-actuated coordinated and pedestrian recall walk signals on primary streets, as well as pedestrian-activated walk signals on side streets.

This means that for pedestrians walking along primary roads, the walk signal will be displayed by default when the traffic light turns green, without the need to push the activation button. For pedestrians crossing primary roads, even if the activation button is pressed after the light has turned green, the walk signal will be displayed during that light cycle, provided the minimum green timing is not exceeded.

The changes mean that it will be less likely that pedestrians will need to wait for a traffic light to complete a full cycle before the walk signal displays allowing them to cross the road. However, Shopland said that advance left turn signals will also display before the pedestrian signal if they have been activated by the presence of a vehicle in the left turn lane.

Shopland also said in his report that a chirper will be added to the crosswalk at the intersection of 100 Ave. and 96 St. He added that with the change to a rest in walk state, the unit will chirp continually, and staff are investigating what will be required to activate this feature only when the button is pushed.

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