Experimental road markings? Abbotsford staff want to try something different

Raised markers among ideas under consideration to improve safety

Call it the great paint experiment.

Every year, the City of Abbotsford spends hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars repainting fading white and yellow lane markings laid on hundreds of kilometres of roads across the geographically largest city in the province.

But, even then, complaints about fading lines are common, particularly during rainy nights.

Now, transportation staff are seeking the go-ahead to experiment with new longer-lasting and visible paint.

In a report for the city’s transportation advisory committee, staff say that better pavement markings are needed throughout Abbotsford “to meet safety and visibility concerns.”

They include better markings at intersections, for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Rural roads are currently sprayed with waterborne paint that lasts around a year, while urban routes get a spray thermoplastic that lasts two years or so.

Staff want to continue that practice but also experiment with other techniques, including using raised pavement markers on high-traffic and truck routes.

Such markers are expensive and can be damaged during snow-plowing, but increase visibility.

The proposed new marking strategy would also continue an effort to mark all city crosswalks and intersections by 2020, but would measure the effectiveness of the endeavour and experiment with markings that would enhance night-time visibility.

A similar program would begin for other road markings, like turning arrows, bike symbols and cross-hatching. Bike lanes would also be marked annually alongside other laneway markings.

The program would cost around $150,000 more than currently budgeted. Staff are asking to use money that will be saved from not needing to resurface roads as frequently as previously expected because of their better-than-expected condition.