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Traffic and pedestrians: Keep things moving

April 26, 2019

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, April 26th 2019

Keeping pedestrian traffic moving freely while facilitating vehicle flow is a goal of every municipality, Steve Wallace writes.

 

Decades ago, there were several scramble intersections throughout our province.
The proposed plan for the very busy tourist-frequented intersection adjacent to the Victoria Harbour includes this same scramble option.

Given a proper introduction and education-related trial period, it will probably work well.
The separation of various modes of transportation is the best way of reducing crash potential.
Hopefully, there will be only three separate movements: pedestrian, vehicles north-south and vehicles east-west.

Perhaps a reinvention of the much-appreciated traffic cop would serve to govern this trial period.
Who knows, it might even become its own tourist attraction.
Why should the RCMP get all the photo ops?
The VicPD chief should be the celebrity traffic director on the first day.

Let Del do it!

Keeping the traffic moving is the goal of every municipal jurisdiction.
To that end, it would be logical to copy what works in other cities.
Many of these cities are now delaying the WALK signal for pedestrians, which allows for an unobstructed right turn for vehicle drivers.
In too many cases, the pedestrians initially move across an intersection, blocking drivers intending to turn right for the entire cycle of the traffic light.

Just as the departing pedestrians have vacated, the oncoming pedestrians show up from across the intersection.
This initial delay would
be a safer way to ease the frustration of the motoring public, without inconveniencing pedestrians. Some
municipalities have replaced the advanced green flashing traffic light with a delayed green flashing cycle for the same reason.

While we are on the topic of new approaches, it is worth mentioning the solid amber arrow at an intersection in some states south of the border.
This signal is meant to allow for a left turn when no oncoming traffic is present.
It is used to not eliminate the singular-use left-turn-lane flashing arrow, but to augment it.

Traffic-light timing should be standardized.
We have the technology to do so: It simply takes the political will to make the change.
The most dangerous place in North America is the intersection.
No matter where you live, this is the case.

Everyone seems to know someone who has been killed or seriously injured in a crash.
All solid amber lights should be timed to the distance of the intersection.
This would provide a degree of consistency for all travellers.
A solid amber light at an intersection means stop, unless one is in the intersection or too close to do so safely.

Consistent-interval solid amber lights would allow for better judgment by drivers.

Roundabouts, traffic circles and diverters are being effectively used by cities worldwide.
Why are we Canadians fixated on stopping traffic?
It makes no sense from a safety, economic or environmental perspective.

For these reasons, it is in everyone’s best interest to keep the traffic, of all kinds, moving.
Every time governments make a change to avoid unnecessary stops, crashes are reduced.
The initially much-criticized McTavish Interchange proved this point.

The expense was well worth it, with a significant crash reduction recorded every year since its completion.

Regardless of where we live, it is time to congratulate local politicians who make effective changes and criticize those who sit on their hands and do nothing.

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