Traffic light can’t come soon enough

Pedestrian-controlled crossing promised for 224th Street by summer

Another seniors was hit by a vehicle while crossing 224th Street on Tuesday.

Crossing  224th Street will be easier and safer next year, thanks to a new pedestrian-controlled traffic light at 121st Avenue, just north of Maple Ridge’s downtown.

Seniors heard that at a meeting  Thursday in the legion hall packed with candidates running for council in the Nov. 19 election. The project entails advancing the public works schedule by a year, and installing the light next spring, providing council approves the budget.

In addition, some of the shrubs in the median along the street will be trimmed or removed, to make visibility easier, said District of Maple Ridge spokesman Fred Armstrong.

“That’s happening right away.”

Bonnie Klovance, chairperson of the seniors safety control committee, has been pushing for such a light and said after the meeting the district has been cooperative and helpful.

“We look forward to more improvements.”

On Tuesday, after the meeting, another seniors was hit by a vehicle while crossing 224th St.

“It’s unfortunate that, after all the positive information,” from last week’s meeting, Klovance said.

It included an ICBC presentation on pedestrian safety, telling people to ensure they’re visible and to look left and right and left again before crossing and to watch out for vehicles approaching from behind and turning into a pedestrian’s path.

“Traffic safety is 50 per cent pedestrian responsibility,” she said.

With so many running for council, 224th Street has become a bit of an election issue.

However, she’s happy with the schedule of next spring for installing the light.

She’d still like to see a 30 km/h speed limit on the road and possibly speed bumps, and pointed out in the next two decades that 40 per cent of the population will be over 65.

The crowd filled most of the basement room in the Royal Canadian Legion’s Branch No. 88.

One questioner, from the United Kingdom, said pedestrians have no rights in her country and that people need to be more aware when crossing roads.

“How many 19-year-olds are going to do 30 km/h down 224th Street?”

Despite the concerns about safety, RCMP Cpl. Dale Somerville said there were only two pedestrian-vehicle accidents in the past two years on that part of 224th Street, both a result of pedestrian error and both resulting in minor injuries. One happened in February 2010 and the other last September.

On the other hand, a man was killed last January at 222nd Street and Dewdney Trunk Road, a fully controlled intersection, after being hit in the crosswalk by a truck making a left turn on to Dewdney Trunk Road.

Candidate Grover Telford, with the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, asked about raising the crosswalks, such as in the Zeller’s parking lot, so they’re more visible to motorists.

Cost for the light will be about $90,000. Once installed, pushing it will turn the light red for a period of time based on a walking speed of 1.2 metres per second. But that could be adjusted to allow for seniors, said transport technologist Michael Eng.

“We’ll look at that and see if we can increase it.”

Klovance said in a recently that more than 600 seniors live in the area and that she collected a petition of 300 names in support of a light.

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