More flashing pedestrian crossings coming to Vancouver intersections

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – What began as a pilot project with flashing, strobe-like beacons at three crosswalks in Vancouver will be expanding.

The City of Vancouver initially put in three rectangular flashing crossing indicators in 2016, and is planning to put in more this year. Winston Chou, Manager of Traffic and Data Management for the city, says the program is expanding because of positive feedback.

“As the pedestrian comes to the crosswalk, they press the button for the flashing beacon,” he says. “When we make the observations and the feedback we’re getting from pedestrians, is that we’re seeing a much higher compliance rate of motorists stopping and yielding to pedestrians at the crosswalk.”

He says the lights are definitely helping to reduce accidents involving pedestrians, and have now become an important part of the city’s zero traffic fatality strategy.

“In locations where previously these devices were not installed, once they are installed we’re seeing close to 90 per cent compliance.”

Chou adds the lights are much cheaper and quicker to install than traditional crosswalk lights.

“It’s very quick to install these devices, compared to what we have been using historically, which are pedestrian, cyclist-activated signals, which can cost up to ten times the cost of a flashing beacon and can take much longer to install.”

The lights are usually placed where there are a lot of pedestrians crossing and cars tend not to stop. The three year pilot project found vehicles stopped 50 per cent of the time without the lights and 98 per cent of the time once they were installed.

There are currently 13 intersections with the lights, including:

Arbutus & 8th
Arbutus & 33rd
Blenhein & 43rd
Cassiar & 22nd
Commercial & 15th
Kerr & 55th
Lancaster & 49th
Manitoba & 16th
West Blvd & 60th

The original three:

Victoria & Grant
West Blvd & 42nd
Elliot & Waverley

And seven more planned for 2019, at:

Pacific & Bute
1000 West Hastings
Kamloops & Dundas
Collingwood & King Edward
Renfrew & 15th
Macdonald & 41
Earles & Horley

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