AMHERST – Amherst has a wide range of crosswalk designs.
There’s the standard corner-to-corner crosswalk, but there’s also mid-block curb-to-curb crosswalk, the curb-to-nowhere crosswalk, and chaos-and-confusion crosswalk.
“When you have crosswalks within 20 feet of each other. If you’re a driver and you’re watching one person crossing and another person starts crossing, you’re setting yourself up for trouble,” said Chief Ian Naylor of the Amherst Police Department.
Naylor fielded crosswalk concerns from the public during a public information session recently held at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre.
Naylor was joined by, Staff Sgt. Scott White, Public Works Operations Manager Aaron Bourgeois, and University of Moncton engineering student Brandon LeBlanc.
They recently conducted a review of the towns crosswalks and determined that 67 of Amherst’s 177 crosswalks be removed.
“It started last year we got some requests to install crosswalks. We started looking at them and realized there was no set criteria,” said Naylor. “Council said they wanted us to develop criteria and assess the pedestrian crossings in town and come back to them with our recommendations.”
They studied the crosswalk recommendations provided by the Transport Association of Canada and adapted those to Amherst.
“There are some unique things about each location, so one criteria doesn’t mean you’re going to recommend installation or removal. It’s a case by case look at the location,” said Naylor.
One concerned parent at the public meeting, Shannon Goldrich, has two children, seven-year-old Mairead and four-year-old Malakia.
She lives near Robb’s Centennial Complex and her road gets busy during ball tournaments, and it is also used as a detour by drivers who want to avoid downtown.
She is also concerned about the crosswalk near the Aerials Gymnastics Club on Lawrence Street.
“It seems like it’s in the middle of the road but there’s gymnastics on Lawrence Street, so you have a lot of kids going across there,” said Goldrich.
She says many crosswalks are pointless, including one near her home, and would like to see them removed, but she does hope the criteria used to assess sidewalk removal is flexible.
“I understand there’s criteria but safety comes first,” said Goldrich.
She said Naylor was responsive to her concerns at the meeting.
“They said they’ll take my name and number, so we’ll see what happens.”
Naylor says they might put a radar speed sign near Goldrich’s home.
“That also tracks the number of vehicles and the speeds,” said Naylor. “We can even go by time of day. If the kids are going to school, what is the traffic like? We’ll gather data on it and have a look at it.”
The crosswalk near the gymnastics club is a good case study in the difficulty of determining whether or not to remove a crosswalk.
“The issue we have with that one is it’s less than 100 metres from Victoria Street to where that crosswalk is. That’s where driver expectations come into play,” said Naylor. “If you turn left from Victoria onto Lawrence, you’re picking up speed and you’re on a bit of a hill, and then all of a sudden there’s a crosswalk.
“We are going to have a look at it again but that was the rational for removing that one,” he added.
Naylor said the main reason for having a cross walk is for pedestrians to cross in a safe and timely manner in areas where there is a lot of traffic.
“We want to get it right and I know we won’t be able to please everyone but we try to,” said Naylor. “That’s the bottom line, we want it safe for everybody. Pedestrians and drivers have to do their part, because if they do it right then everybody will be safe.”
Crosswalk removal will begin right away.
“One of the challenges ahead of us is how to get that paint off, so we’re working on that,” said Naylor. “The plan is that the signs will come down and the crosswalks removed, but we’re looking at how to get the paint off.”
Further information provided by the Town of Amherst includes the following:
The criteria to retain or install a new sidewalk established by the committee includes:
Connecting a sidewalk at an intersection with a through highway.
Close to a seniors or youth facility.
In a school zone or event site.
High volume of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Crosswalk crosses a multi-lane/complex intersection.
Three- or four-way stop.
Within the downtown zone as designated by the committee.
Located at an intersection that had traffic lights.
Criteria for removing a crosswalk or denying a request for a new one included:
Crosswalks that end on the side of a road where there was no sidewalk.
Low volume of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
Within 100 metres of another crosswalk or controlled intersection.
A mid-block crossing.
The street being crossed is at an intersection with a through highway that has a stop or yield signs.
Inconsistent with similar locations.
Crosswalk was connected to private property or a parking lot.
The review determined that 67 existing crosswalks should be removed, one crosswalk should be relocated and six new crosswalks should be installed.
The crosswalks recommend to be removed are located at: (the first named street is the one the crosswalk crosses)
Spring Street at Regent Street
Lusby Street at Victoria Street
Victoria Street at Mill Street
Terrace Street at Victoria Street
Lawrence Street at LaPlanche Street (south side of intersection)
Lawrence Street at LaPlanche Street (north side of intersection)
Lawrence Street at Erncliffe Street
Lawrence Street – midblock by Shear Impressions
LaPlanche Street – midblock about 10 metres north of Dale Street
Dale Street at Eddy Street
Eddy Street at Dale Street
Copp Avenue at Victoria Street
Victoria Street at Cop Avenue
Agnew Street at Regent Street
Agnew Street at Rupert Street
Queen Street at Academy Street
Havelock Street at Clifford Street
Clifford Street at Havelock Street
Havelock Street at Belmont Street
Belmont Street at Havelock Street
Agnew Street at Havelock Street
Havelock Street at Princess Street (North side only)
Princess Street at Havelock Street
King Street at Havelock Street
Ratchford Street at Havelock Street
Ratchford Street at Acadia Street
Acadia Street at Four Father’s Library
Prince Arthur Street at Acadia Street (West side only)
Acadia Street at Prince Arthur Street
Robie Street at Church Street
Belmont Street at Church Street
Clifford Street at Church Street
Queen Street at Church Street
Dickey Street at Church Street
Beacon Street at Church Street
Church Street at East Pleasant Street (North side only)
Academy Street at East Pleasant Street
Charles Street at East Pleasant Street
Croft Street at Spring Street (x2)
Albion Street at Spring Street
Queen Street at Albion Street
Albion Street at Queen Street
Ottawa Street at South Albion Street
Admore Street at South Ablion Street
Edgewood Avenue at South Albion Street
Clinton Street at South Albion Street
Chamberlain Street at Newtown Avenue
Hickman Street at Mission Street (North side only)
Mission Street at Hickman Street (West side only)
Minto Street at Hickman Street
Hickman at Minto Street
Dundonald Street at Hickman Street
Crescent Avenue and Albion Street
Maple Avenue at East Victoria Street
Acadia Street at Victoria Street
Herbert Street at Victoria Street
Private Entrance at 122 and 131 East Pleasant Street (x2)
South Albion Street entrance to Superstore (x2)
South Albion Street private entrances to business (x6)
New crosswalks are being recommended at:
Cornwall Street at Anson Avenue (west side)
Croft Street at Beacon Street
Beacon Street at Croft Street (x2)
Dickie at Rupert
Elmwood Drive at Willow (west side)