Pedestrians making their way through Saanich in 2021 will encounter several new crosswalks that help those on foot get a head start on traffic.
During the fall of 2019, the District of Saanich kicked off a crosswalk pilot program that prioritizes pedestrians by giving them a walk signal before drivers get a green light. This first was installed at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Braefoot Road/Harrop Road.
Following a positive response to the concept – referred to as a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) – five more were installed at the intersections of Quadra Street and Reynolds Road, Quadra Street and Lily Avenue, Quadra Street and Beckwith Avenue, Quadra Street and Chatterton Way, and Chatterton Way and Emily Carr Drive.
Early this year, the engineering department installed two more LPIs – one at the intersection of Wilkinson Road and Santa Rosa Avenue and the other at Blenkinsop Road and Tattersall Drive.
According to the Saanich website, other LPI installations planned for 2021 include Royal Oak Drive at Lochside Drive; Cedar Hill Road at Derby Road; West Saanich Road at Elk Lake Drive; Carey Road at Ravine Way; Cordova Bay Road at Sayward Hill Crescent; Cloverdale Avenue at Oak Street; and Admirals Road at Gorge Road West.
This week the Engineering department installed Leading Pedestrian Intervals at 2 major intersections as part of our planned 2021 program. These were installed at the intersections of Wilkinson and Santa Rosa and at Blenkinsop and Tattersall.https://t.co/3oY0VbSUGz pic.twitter.com/SNJl7vNwfM
— District of Saanich (@saanich) January 15, 2021
The crosswalks were recommended in the district’s Active Transportation Plan and “represent our commitment to improving walking, biking and other active mobility options,” said Harley Machielse, Saanich’s director of engineering, in February 2020.
At the time, he explained that when a pedestrian pushes the button, a walk signal comes before the green light for drivers headed in the same direction, but when the button isn’t pushed, traffic will flow as normal. He added that the LPIs – which are partially funded by ICBC – are a “cost-effective strategy” to improve safety for pedestrians.