A Kamloops city councillor says crosswalk timing changes will result in immediate safety improvements to the McGill Road corridor.
Coun. Arjun Singh said that, based on five years’ worth of ICBC collision data, most pedestrian injuries in the area occurred in crosswalks with a left-turning signal.
The data shows four incidents between 2014 and 2018 at the intersection of Summit Drive and McGill Road involved a pedestrian struck in a crosswalk by a left-turning driver.
Included among short-term safety solutions for the area, Singh said, is a review to optimize signal timings in the Sahali area, with greater consideration for pedestrian safety.
“One of the things that staff is pretty confident will be able to get done is having this thing where pedestrians will be able to have a five-, 10-second head start, or some kind of head start,” he said.
Singh said the initiative was among those requested by the community. Last year, a 54-year-old Thompson Rivers University employee, Lucy Phua, was struck and killed by a vehicle at the intersection of University Drive and McGill Road. It prompted a request by councillors for recommendations on safety improvements to the area. Those recommendations were presented to the city’s development and sustainability committee earlier this week.
In addition to the crosswalk signal timing changes, Singh is keen to discuss the future of the area. He said reducing speed along the corridor would do little without redesigning the roadway to make it less conducive to speeding, including reducing road width and adding pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Speed readers installed appear to be working, but only go so far, he said.
“You want to design roads that people don’t feel so comfortable going fast on,” Singh said, noting it is listed amongst mid-term recommendations in the city’s McGill road safety improvements strategy. “TRU is a really suitable place to start that conversation in a big way.”
Singh also pointed to a proposed Summit Road overpass, which has been in the works at city hall for some time. He could provide no timeline on construction of the overpass, which would link the university by foot to housing on the other side of a high-traffic dangerous goods route. He called it a “substantial project” and noted staff are in discussion with Thompson Rivers University about cost-sharing.
He said council is also going into strategic planning, with the back half of its term and COVID-19 impacts top of mind, at which time it will be discussed.
“With COVID, we’re just trying to figure out where the dollars come from,” he said. “We’ve got to be really careful with that.”