Halifax considers reducing number of locations with crosswalk flags

In a report going to Halifax regional council this week, city staff recommends the flags be limited to marked crosswalks with side-mounted signs.

Halifax traffic engineers want to remove flags from a third of the 155 locations they're available

Crosswalk flags can help to indicate where a crosswalk is especially when snow covers the roads. (CBC)

Halifax traffic engineers want to remove crosswalk flags from a third of the 155 locations where they are currently available. 

In a report going to Halifax regional council, city staff recommends the flags be limited to marked crosswalks with side-mounted signs.

It would mean removing the flags from crossings without signs and crosswalks that have overhead flashing lights.

Crosswalk safety advocate 'surprised'

Norm Collins, a crosswalk safety advocate, disagrees with the report.

"I am surprised," said Collins. "I was hoping for an actual expansion to four-way stop locations and signalized intersections where most collisions occur."

If crossing flags are removed from locations with overhead flashing lights, it would have an impact the Portland Street crosswalk where teenager Mary Beth Chaulk was killed and Pleasant Street. 

Survey: not many people using flags

Halifax traffic officials say a survey was done of 50 of the crosswalks with flags and only eight per cent of pedestrians used the crossing flags, most of them children or seniors.

Collins does not think that is a large enough sample to make the survey valid. 

He insists in Dartmouth, where many of the crossing flags have been installed, there has been a 21-per cent decrease in collisions involving pedestrians.

Advocate says flags are working

"I just totally do not understand the reasoning and the logic behind taking down something that is working," said Collins.

First reading of the proposed changes will happen on Tuesday, but it will have to return later to regional council for a vote.

Collins said he hopes that will give people time to contact their councillors about this issue.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca