Greenwood council has turned it’s mind around again —this time on the subject of crosswalk flags.
You may recall that the idea of crosswalk flags was brought to the council table back in November by Councillor Darla Ashton. She had seen it used down in the states someplace—I think she said it was in Chelan, Washington.
The City of Greenwood has long been concerned about the safety of pedestrians crossing Hwy. 3 as it goes through town.
They have lobbied long, hard and fruitlessly for an official – i.e. painted – crosswalk at the intersection beside credit union. In fact the old-timers here remember when there was one at that very spot.
So when Ashton saw the crosswalk flag system in use she thought she had found something everyone could rally behind. Upon further investigation she found it was being used in cities such as Chicago and Seattle and was well spoken of online.
Plastic cylinders with instructions are installed on signposts on both sides of uncontrolled intersections and several bright-red flags are placed inside each cylinder. Pedestrians are encouraged to grab a flag, wave it to gain motorists attention, and then safely carry the flag across to the other side. Flags are then placed in the holder on the opposite side for another use.
One online study showed that pedestrian crossing flags had considerably greater impact on motorist yielding rates than did overhead flashing amber beacons or high-visibility signs or markings.
In November staff were directed to look into costs for a flag system.
But then it came up that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had to be consulted. It is their highway after all.
Highways came back with a tentative okay—but since Greenwood would be the first community in B.C. to have the crossing flag system they wanted it done as a pilot project.
“And by the way,” they added, “We don’t have any staff or funding to devote to it.”
So it wasn’t going to be so simple as setting up a couple of buckets of flags and walking away. Someone would have to gather some data to be crunched. And this data would have to compete against existing government data that said there has not been a single pedestrian collision in the last 28 years. “From a collision stats point of view, the Greenwood corridor is safe for pedestrians as-is,” the city was told.
But the decider for most council members was when they started talking liability.
You see—right now if anything happens in a crosswalk on Hwy 3 the provincial ministry is on the hook. But if the city were to be putting up crosswalk flags then somehow they would be assuming some of the liability.
So they nixed the whole idea on Monday night. Last month it was chickens. This months it’s crossing flags.
That leaves me in the position of having to come up with a punch line about why the illegal chicken crossed the road with or without a crossing flag. Tough assignment so I’ll just leave you with the visual.
Last Friday was pretty cold and wet. I stopped at The Spot in Midway and as I was dodging the raindrops on the way out I ran into Scott Thordarson as he was just pulling in. He complained about the weather too. Imagine that— a dentist sensitive to cold.
I came across a good quote by Oprah the other day. “There is no way out. If there was I would have bought it; and it would be my favourite thing.”