When the new middle school and high school scenario becomes reality in Prince Rupert this September there could be an increase in the number of students using the crosswalk at McBride Street and Ninth Avenue to go to and from school.
This has prompted City staff to work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to see if anything can be done to ensure safety at the site.
City Manager Gordon Howie said the concern was first brought to council’s attention by the school district.
“Because of the change of usage of Prince Rupert Secondary School to a middle school, they felt more and younger traffic will be using the crosswalk,” he said.
School board chair Tina Last said the board hasn’t discussed the issue further, and would be waiting for the next board meeting, so she couldn’t really comment.
“We’re waiting to hear back from the Ministry of Highways,” Last said.
Meanwhile Don Ramsay, Regional Manager of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure office in Terrace said the crosswalk is already lit and has signage overhead that went in over 10 years ago, but with the anticipated increase of school traffic it’s a legitimate concern that he’s taking seriously.
He’s referred it to the Ministry’s traffic engineer in Prince George and hasn’t heard back yet, but said in the meantime, he could think of one possible solution.
“In Terrace at Thornhill Senior Secondary School east of Terrace where students have to cross Highway 16, there’s a traffic crossing guard hired to work during morning and afternoon periods when students are arriving and leaving school. It’s not a great cost, but it’s not insignificant,” Ramsay said.
As far as installing a traffic light at the crosswalk, there’s the problem of trucks having to slow to a stop and then gather momentum to climb a hill in the next block.
Ramsay didn’t think the Ministry would want to pursue that option.