British Columbia·Map

Here are Metro Vancouver's most dangerous pedestrian intersections

Experts weigh in on the most dangerous crossings in Metro Vancouver and share measures to make them safer.

CBC maps the worst roadways to cross on foot across the Lower Mainland

The intersection of Lougheed Highway and North Road on the border of Coquitlam and Burnaby has been dubbed the second worst spot for pedestrian-involved crashes by ICBC. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The most dangerous place to be a pedestrian in the province is Metro Vancouver.

All of the intersections where 10 or more pedestrians were hurt in motor vehicle collisions between 2013 and 2017 were in the Lower Mainland, according to ICBC.

Using the insurance company's most recent data, CBC Vancouver mapped out where these intersections are and then spoke with experts to see what measures can be taken to make them safer.

On the border of Burnaby and Coquitlam, where Lougheed Highway meets North Road, is the second most dangerous intersection, with 21 reported accidents involving pedestrians in the years for which data is available. 

This is where Jason D'Souza, story producer for CBC's The Early Editionmet Emily Newhouse, medical officer with the Fraser Health Authority, to find out what makes this junction so risky and what can be done to make it safer.

Angled roads make visbility difficult at intersections for drivers says medical health officer. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

One thing that makes that intersection particularly dangerous is the roads intersect at an angle, Newhouse said.

"It means [driver] views are often not encompassing where the pedestrians might be moving," she said. "It makes it more challenging for them to actually keep their eyes where they need to to maintain safety."

Click on the interactive map below to see the Lower Mainland's most dangerous intersections for pedestrians: 

Newhouse suggests adjusting the lights at the intersection so pedestrians have a few extra seconds to finish crossing before cars can start moving, something she said is an inexpensive fix and not very disruptive for urban drivers.

"It actually doesn't have much of a significant impact on overall traffic flow, particularly in a city environment where there are many other lights and more of your time is spent waiting at subsequent lights," she said. 

Fraser Health spokesperson says signage placed at intersections can sometimes pose safety risks for people with mobility devices who cannot navigate around them. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

In Vancouver, which is home to the most dangerous pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Main Street and East Hastings Street, the city has reduced speeds along Hastings Street to 30 km/h in an effort to make it safer.

Lon LaClaire, director of transportation for the City of Vancouver, says flashing beacons at crosswalks and better lighting at intersections are also proving effective at keeping pedestrians safer.

"We install probably around 10 to 20 pedestrian-activated signals a year and they get prioritized based on the demand and statistics we have," said LaClaire Thursday in an interview on CBC's The Early Edition.

He said the city is also planning to retrofit all street lights with LED lighting, which has happened at 17 locations so far and there has been a 40 per cent reduction in collisions at those sites.

These were the top five most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Metro Vancouver over 2013-17, with number of injuries/fatalities in parenthesis, according to ICBC:

  1. East Hastings Street and Main Street, Vancouver (35)
  2. Lougheed Highway and North Road, Burnaby/Coquitlam (21)
  3. Kingsway and Victoria Drive, Vancouver (20)
  4. 104 Avenue and King George Boulevard, Surrey (20)
  5. 128 Street and 96 Avenue, Surrey (19)

Pedestrians cross the street near Main and Hastings in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The intersection is the most dangerous place, according to ICBC data, to be a pedestrian in the province. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

But for LaClaire, a critical piece of the safety puzzle is having everyone on the road be more mindful of each other.

"Getting safety culture into people's mindset is a real fundamental piece," said LaClaire. "It's really about people being able to see each other."

Newhouse says it is also important for road safety to be seen as a public health issue.

"If people were regularly dying from dirty water we wouldn't ever accept it," Newhouse said. "I think that people tend to tolerate what they're familiar with and we're used to people dying on our roads."

According to ICBC, about 51 people die annually crossing and walking on B.C. roads.

To hear Emily Newhouse speak with CBC's Jason D'Souza tap the audio link below: 

With files from The Early Edition and Tara Carman


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