New Essex crosswalk signs mounted in middle of the road
'Oh, there's something going on here' — drivers more aware of pedestrians
It's a bold move to highlight crosswalks and pedestrian safety in downtown Essex — signs mounted in the middle of the road.
Four signs, which are about one-metre in height, have been installed on the yellow centre line this summer. And Essex is the first municipality in the region to put them up.
Jordan Miner uses the crosswalk on a regular basis. He has a learning disability and appreciates the new initiative.
"It helps me a lot to cross, even for someone who is mentally challenged, it really helps," he said.
Since they were installed, Miner said he's already noticed vehicles are slowing down more often around the crosswalks.
You're able to cross easier and not be afraid someone is going to run you over.- Abigail Chaulk, Grade 12 student
With a relatively low cost of a few hundred dollars per sign, the town has also found these simple signs to be very effective.
"What we found, which wasn't expected — pedestrians now, whereas they used to cross wherever they wanted, they see the sign ... so they're drawn to cross there," said Chris Nepszy, director of infrastructure and development.
Drivers more aware
And since it's smack dab in the middle of the street, it also gets the attention of drivers to make them think "oh, there's something going on here."
"We definitely see when you watch the motorists, they're aware, they start to look and that's what you want," said Nepszy.
Signs make town 'pedestrian-friendly'
The signs aren't required under any sort of legislation. After seeing them on display at a recent trade show in Toronto, the town wanted to take its crosswalks a step further.
"When you see these signs within the town, you do get that feeling that it's a pedestrian-friendly town," said Nepszy.
Students who attend Essex District High School just down the street have also noticed a shift in how drivers react around crosswalks.
"People seem to stop more and you're able to cross easier and not be afraid someone is going to run you over," said Abigail Chaulk, a Grade 12 student.
Even though these are new to Essex, other communities in Ottawa and Quebec have already adopted this type of crosswalk.