The DYI pedestrian scramble crosswalk at the intersection of Inverness Road and Glasgow Avenue was created with chalk and strings to keep lines straight. (Photo courtesy Teale Phelps Bondaroff)

VIDEO: Homemade pedestrian scramble crosswalk in Saanich removed by police

Police call it ‘a huge safety concern,’ ask others not to copy the idea

A DIY pedestrian scramble crosswalk installed by a group of Saanich residents was short-lived as police were quick to have it removed.

The scramble crosswalk – that allows pedestrians to cross in any direction – was drawn in chalk by residents at the intersection of Inverness Road and Glasgow Avenue on Sunday, May 10.

Co-creator Teale Phelps Bondaroff said the idea came out of casual chats between neighbours who shared concerns about safety in the area.

“Drivers often speed through this intersection, oblivious to the adjacent park, or the fact that they are required by law to yield to pedestrians seeking to cross at … unmarked crosswalks,” he explained in a Twitter post.

Phelps Bondaroff and his neighbours wanted to “visualize alternatives for the space” in an effort to improve safety. Residents deemed the area a good candidate for a scramble because people often cross in all directions already as the curb-cuts put pedestrians diagonally, he explained.

The chalk crosswalk was removed by Saanich police on Monday after a neighbour called to complain, but Phelps Bondaroff said he and the others involved weren’t upset as the crosswalk was never intended to last too long but rather draw attention to road safety issues in the area.

Residents “can’t be doing this,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the Saanich Police Department.

It’s “a huge safety concern” as it’s confusing for road users, he added, pointing out that there was no signage explaining how the scramble crosswalk should be used and it had not been approved by the District.

Anastasiades noted a scramble crosswalk in Victoria was installed at Wharf and Humboldt streets after community consultation and that proper safety measures were also put in place to protect all users.

Saanich police “strongly advise against marking up the road” and posting homemade signage to direct road-users, he said. As it’s a matter of road safety, residents are encouraged to call the Saanich Police Department’s non-emergency line to report unofficial safety signals or signs.

Anastasiades said signs reminding drivers to slow down or indicataing children are playing nearby are permitted, but proper procedure must be followed when it comes to crosswalks and other directional signage.

“We appreciate the sentiment by the resident to encourage more walking; however, installing traffic control infrastructure by a resident is prohibited,” said Saanich spokesperson Kelsie McLeod, voicing the District’s concern.

She added that traffic control measures must be installed by municipal staff and need to meet safety regulations.

Phelps Bondaroff feels other intersections in Saanich would benefit from a scramble crosswalk “prioritizing pedestrians,” he discourages others from doing DIY installations. For now, he and his neighbours will decide if they want to approach the District about installing an official scramble crosswalk at the intersection.

Residents wishing to provide feedback on traffic or road infrastructure can reach out to Saanich’s Engineering Department by email at engineering@saanich.ca.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CrosswalksDistrict of SaanichSaanich Police Department

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