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Crosswalks dominate agenda at Thunder Bay City Hall

The concept of crossing the road may seem simple, but it caused a lot of discussion at Thunder Bay city hall Monday night.

City council considers lots of options on how to cross the road

Liane Boyer McLean spoke to Thunder Bay city councillors on Monday night about implementing pedestrian crossovers in the city. She wants to see a crossover built along High Street, making it easier for pedestrians to access Hillcrest Park. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
There was lots of talk of traffic and crosswalks at Thunder Bay City Hall last night. Liane Boyer McLean made a presentation. 5:01

The concept of crossing the road may seem simple, but it caused a lot of discussion at Thunder Bay city hall Monday night.

Council heard how the province recently approved Bill 31, which allows for the creation of pedestrian crossovers in Ontario. They include paint markings on roadways, signage, and some include flashing lights.

Administration told council there are a number of areas where the crossovers could be introduced. One area, near Hillcrest Park, was the site of a collision between a vehicle and a person who was crossing High Street to get to the park.
A pedestrian crossover, similar to this one, could soon be seen in many locations across Thunder Bay. (Mark Quinn/ CBC)

"There's a lot of frustration in the community on the inaction on this issue," said Liane Boyer McLean. "The councillors in this area seem to be well aware of the issue. And, because of regulations and engineering restrictions, there's been no action."

Administration said they are aware of at least 25 areas that could host the pilot site for the pedestrian crossover. What is unknown at this time is what type of crossover would be needed. The crossover is modified depending on the volume of traffic on a particular road.
A crosswalk, similar to this one, could be seen in one of 25 locations in Thunder Bay. The markings help improve pedestrian safety. (CBC)

"Is there a need and desired lines for pedestrians in that area, and there is not a warrant for traffic signals, we should be considering crossovers," said Ryan Love, the city's traffic technologist.

Other traffic issues

Council also approved looking into standardizing signals for pedestrians at intersections across the city. The Accessibility Advisory Committee has longstanding concerns that the placement of poles, pedestrian control signal buttons and accessibility of the control buttons make it difficult for some to cross the street.

Administration will look into the issue.

Administration will also come back to council near the end of the summer to report on how to improve safety along Woodcrest Road. A report was pulled from the agenda, after it recommended pulling all parking in the area as a temporary measure.

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