Teale Phelps Bondaroff points to one of the region’s many unmarked crosswalks at the intersection of Inverness Road and Glasgow Avenue in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich man pitches road safety initiative to raise awareness of unmarked crosswalks

Stop For Me project will add signage to intersections warning drivers to yield

The Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s (GVPN) newest initiative is a road safety signage project reminding drivers to yield at all crosswalks.

“All intersections are crosswalks,” said Saanich-based researcher and GVPN board member Teale Phelps Bondaroff.

He joined forces with the former GVPN president Lorne Daniel on Stop For Me – a project to make drivers more aware of the need to yield at unmarked crosswalks by placing bright purple signage at “key intersections” near schools and residential areas throughout Greater Victoria, Phelps Bondaroff said.

Phelps Bondaroff explained that many drivers seem to be unaware of the laws surrounding crosswalks – specifically those that are unmarked. He emphasized that according to the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act (MVA), where there are no traffic control signals, drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing at both marked or unmarked crosswalks.

The MVA defines crosswalks in a way that separates them into three types: those marked at an intersection, those marked at a point other than an intersection such as along a stretch of road and those that are unmarked at all intersections, Phelps Bondaroff said.

The goal of Stop For Me is to reclaim unmarked crosswalks for the safety of all road users by posting signs to draw drivers’ attention. He suggests up to eight signs reading “All intersections are crosswalks. Stop for me!” could be placed at one four-way intersection – two on each corner – to draw the attention of drivers to pedestrians.

The signs would also be moved to other intersections periodically to “keep it fresh,” and so drivers don’t become oblivious to them, Phelps Bondaroff said.

He acknowledged that putting up brightly coloured signs for the purpose of reminding drivers to be careful is nothing new. Existing signage ranges from homemade posters indicating children are playing nearby to mass-produced signs reminding people to “drive like [their] kids live here.”

While other projects are also more focused on reducing speed, not on crosswalk safety, Phelps Bondaroff feels all road safety reminders are beneficial because they mean more people will feel safe opting for active transportation. This, he said, will not only help decrease the risk of injuries or deaths involving road traffic but will contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

The Stop For Me project is still “in its infancy,” but Phelps Bondaroff and Daniel are already working on pricing out printing costs and planning education and outreach materials.

Anyone interested in getting a Stop For Me sign can visit victoriaplacemaking.ca.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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