Temporary curb extensions
Crosswalk crashes in Prince Rupert have been in the headlines for months. Since early 2017, eight people have been hit by cars while in crosswalks. The subject was addressed in council on Dec. 11 when councillor Wade Niesh’s wife was almost struck at the intersection at First Avenue and McBride Street.
That intersection is one of three Chris Lightfoot identified in his presentation to council on Feb. 13. Lightfoot, who is one of the founding members of Complete Streets For Prince Rupert, highlighted three problematic crosswalks in Prince Rupert: First Avenue and McBride Street, Third Avenue West and Third Street, and Second Avenue West and Third Street.
Complete Streets wants to set up a temporary curb extension at one of these sites and study its effect on pedestrian and driver behaviour. The temporary fix would use tape, chalk and plastic bollards. The distance pedestrians need to cross would be reduced.
“It improves the visibility for pedestrians and drivers,” Lightfoot said during his presentation. “Also the tighter turning radius encourages slower turning speeds. A study has shown that yielding behaviour improves by approximately 40 per cent on sites with curb extensions and that in general, modifying the built environment in a highly effective technique for reducing pedestrian-related crashes.”
The road safety advocacy group hopes to get permission from the city to run the trial at one of the intersections. Lightfoot also asked for help negotiating with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) since the crosswalk on Second Avenue West lies on provincial jurisdiction as part of Highway 16. When Complete Streets approached MOTI about the intersection project, they turned it down.
The organization will also need a cost estimate from the city for funding requests. Lightfoot said during his presentation that Complete Streets is not asking for money from the city, but intends to raise funds through grants and donations.
“I love the idea of bump-outs. I’m not too sure of temporary ones,” councillor Barry Cunningham said, adding that plastic barriers may give a false sense of security to pedestrians.
“But we definitely have to do something,” Cunningham said. “It’s all about, at the end of the day, people’s safety. I don’t care what it costs.”
Councillor Blair Mirau, who was sitting in for Mayor Lee Brain while he’s in Alaska, recommended Lightfoot bring the proposed project to the city’s engineering department. The city would be liable for any design changes.
After a closed meeting on Jan. 15, city council approved a recommendation from the fire chief to award the tsunami risk assessment project to Northwest Hydraulic Consultants.
Bylaw passed third reading for men’s support house
The proposed supportive house for men at 333 11th Avenue East requires a housing agreement and zoning bylaw amendment. The application already passed its first reading and held a public information meeting. Before it can move forward, the council needs to adopt the bylaw.
Council passed the first, second and third readings of the bylaw on the conditions that the property be kept in good order and the residents cannot “engage in any conduct or behaviour that unreasonably disturbs the neighbourhood,” city planner Zeno Krekic said.
The bylaw only applies to supportive housing for relearning healthy living — such as drug and alcohol recovery post-treatment or palliative care — in residential areas. It does not include halfway houses.
“I’m fully in support of this supportive housing agreement,” councillor Joy Thorkelson said over the phone at council. “I think the more supportive housing we have in Prince Rupert, the better off we are.”
The next step will be a public hearing.
Port Edward updates
The District of Port Edward’s council met on Feb. 13. They’re waiting for details from the province about the eight seniors housing units they’ve been granted.
They also had the third reading of the 2018 five-year portion of road closure bylaw.