Niagara Falls is getting its first pedestrian crossover on McLeod Rd. at the north end of the Warren Woods trail.
The crossover is to be installed before the end of 2017 and city transportation staff will be identifying and reviewing additional locations for 2018.
Mathew Bilodeau, manager of transportation engineering for the city brought the motion to install the crossover to council on Tuesday and gave a presentation on the three types of crossovers introduced by the province in January.
He said the “Level 2” crossovers are meant for pedestrians to safely cross a road with the legal right-of-way, noting that in January the provincial government passed legislature that says drivers, including cyclists, must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, as well as school crossings and other locations where a crossing guard is present.
The challenges, Bilodeau said, will be educating the public on how to use the crossover and ensuring proper enforcement of the new laws.
Bilodeau pointed out that when the legislation came into effect, the city and the NRP embarked on an extensive campaign to make the public aware of the new laws regarding crossing guards, said Bilodeau.
He said regarding crossovers, the city will have a similar campaign.
Coun. Kim Craitor expressed that he was “really worried” about the safety risk of the new crossovers.
He said the city gets multiple emails a day asking for speed humps or yield signs to be made stop signs because people don’t stop.
“It’s a great concept, but these things only work if you have enforcement,” said Craitor.
Karl Dren, director of transportation, said “the critical part of this whole thing is education.”
“This is brand new to our community. Even though they’re starting to go province-wide, it’s brand new across the province, the region included. So as Mathew had indicated, we’re starting slow.”
“There’s an education process that needs to proceed this to ensure that our drivers in our community understand what do to at these crossovers. It’s really the driver that has to be aware what the implications are if they don’t obey the law with regards to the crossings,” said Dren.
“The key is education.”
The new crossovers range in cost, at $2,500, $20,000 and $25,000.
Crossovers have already been added in some other Niagara municipalities including a crossover on St. Paul St. in St. Catharines.
Here's a video on how the crossovers worked in Hamilton, from the city of Hamilton's YouTube channel.