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New crosswalk lights could be coming to McDonald Road

Action based on data collected from district in summer

A particularly busy crosswalk in Kent might be getting a safety makeover soon.

District staff recently presented council with the results of The District of Kent Vision Zero project, a local initiative to analyze ways to improve the intersection of Highway 9 and McDonald Road.

The intersection in question is one of the busiest in Agassiz with the central route seeing roughly 5,000 vehicles per day passing through. An uncontrolled sidewalk – recently installed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) – traverses the four-lane road and sees heavy use from nearby single-family homes, strata properties and senior care facilities.

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District staff collected data from two main sources – an Armadillo tracker and a speed reader board, both installed near the sidewalk at different times last summer. The Armadillo tracker measured vehicle speeds heading north and south during a two-week period from May 31 to June 14, and the speed reader board measured the same data from July 15 to 29, 2019.

The average speed collected for northbound traffic – which was slower on average than southbound – was about 58.2 km/h measured by the Armadillo tracker and 55.7 km/h with the reader board. The average speed did not vary significantly between trackers despite the speed of traffic being plainly visible on the speed reader board.

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Most of the vehicle traffic measured went an average of 16 to 17.5 km/h over the speed limit of 50 km/h with the highest speed recorded at 149 km/h. This led to the conclusion that vehicles traveling this speed made the crosswalk difficult to sue safely, particularly for more vulnerable pedestrians like the residents of nearby senior facilities.

“Crossing a highway with four lanes of uncontrolled traffic should warrant further pedestrian safety measures,” the study concluded. “The volume of traffic in a residential neighbourhood is a concern for pedestrian safety.”

Based on this study, the District of Kent recommended a controlled crosswalk with flashing lights, similar to the crosswalk already in place in the Agassiz townsite along Highway 9 not far from Morrow Road.

The findings of Vision Zero were shared with MOTI, and, based on funding, they may consider the district’s recommendations in the near future.

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