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.
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.
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.