A disabled Saint John man is trying to encourage city staff to lengthen the amount of time given at a busy uptown crosswalk, which he feels is dangerously short. 

Jared St. Germain uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. Even in the speedy, yellow chair - St. Germain said he often only makes it to the middle of the intersection at King St. and Charlotte St. before the signal changes.

"When we're walking or in a wheelchair, it's just too short for the length of time that you have to cross" he said.

Jared St. Germain

Jared St. Germain feels the time is too short for some to get across safely. (Matthew Bingley/CBC News)

The three-way crossing is what's known as scramble crosswalk. Cars are prevented from turning on a red light while a three-way pedestrian signal is given.

Seven seconds are given to pedestrians in the first phase of the crossing which features the white silhouette of a man. Another 13 seconds are given during the next phase which indicates to pedestrians to clear the area.

Time too short, city disagrees

St. Germain feels the time is too short for some to get across safely. Indeed, while observing the crosswalk, most slower walkers including the elderly people don't make it across before the signals change. Even though cars are restricted from turning, St. Germain said he's seen infractions. 

"I've seen cars that want to turn and they turn on the red light, even though it says there's no right turn on the red light."


Jared St. Germain says he can usually only get his yellow motorized wheelchair to the middle before the signal changes. (Matthew Bingley/CBC News)

St. Germain would like to see more time added to the crosswalk, especially since a block down the road in front of the City Market, it's much longer. That pair of crosswalks give pedestrians 20 seconds to cross before the first stage ends. 

All St. Germain wants, is a few more seconds to prevent what he thinks is an accident waiting to happen.

"If five seconds is what the city allows on that light, that's not good because somebody's going to get killed," said St. Germain.

But the city's traffic engineer Tim O'Reilly said the King/Charlotte intersection is safe and falls into national guidelines.

"The time, to my knowledge, hasn't been tweaked. This has been the way it is," said O'Reilly.

"The standard walking speed that's typically used across the country is 1.2 metres per second. So what we do is essentially measure off how lengthy a crossing is and figure out how many seconds it needs to be." 

O'Reilly says the timer is already long enough, so there are no plans to change it.