City adds signs to improve crosswalk safety

A pilot project in Abbotsford increases the stopping distance between motorists and pedestrians.

Despite new signage

Despite new signage

Drivers will be getting extra reminders about yielding to pedestrians, through a new pilot project by the City of Abbotsford.

The City’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) approved the idea to paint advance yield lines and install corresponding signage at the crosswalk on South Fraser Way at James Street, in front of city hall.

Advance yield lines are rows of white triangles painted onto the street surface. Signage will instruct motorists to “Yield Here to Pedestrians.”

Drivers who stop too close to a crosswalk can obscure the view of other motorists traveling in adjacent lanes and could result in a pedestrian being struck.

The signage and pavement markings tell motorists to yield at least 10 metres from the crosswalk. It is designed to improve safety by increasing the sight distance between the pedestrian and the motorist approaching in the adjacent lane. It also reduces the potential of a vehicle rear-ending the yielding vehicle and pushing it into a pedestrian.

“This is the only one we’ve tried here so far,” said Abbotsford Coun. Moe Gill, chair of the TSAC.

He said other areas were examined for the new signage, but it was decided to wait and monitor the one site to determine if the project is a success.

“We’re still doing a little bit of an experiment on it,” added Gill, saying the distances may be increased or decreased depending on the effectiveness. The signs could also be hung above the road rather than at street level.

Gill said a more thorough examination of cost would have to be completed before any additional crosswalks would be changed.

The crosswalk used for the project has an island in the centre of the road, making it different from most other crosswalks in the city.

Motorists are reminded that pedestrians have the right-of-way when at a crosswalk.

The City of Abbotsford also would like to remind the public that it is the responsibility of both driver and pedestrian to ensure each other’s safety.

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