Above: Town employees paint one of Morinville’s 49 crosswalks in this Morinville Online file photo.
by Colin Smith
Town council has voted to move ahead with improvements to Morinville pedestrian crosswalks in 2024.
It will also consider using funds from the town’s safety reserve to do some of the work this year.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 14, council approved a motion in favour of the first of two options provided by administration as part of a pedestrian crossing review implementation plan.
This option, recommended by administration, includes installation of curb ramps at 100 Street at 101 Avenue and 102 Avenue at 101A Street, installation and upgrades of rapid rectangular flashing beacons, oversized and additional signage and crosswalk painting.
However, another recommendation for the removal of 11 of Morinville’s 49 crosswalks, about which a number of councillors raised questions, was dropped.
According to a presentation by Brad Boddez, Fire Chief/Manager, Community Safety Services, the preliminary cost estimate for option 1 is $164,000. Without crosswalk removals, it would be about $1,500 less.
The cost for option 2 was $134,000. That included flashing beacon installation and upgrades, crosswalk painting and additional signage where needed, but no oversized signage, crosswalk removals or curb ramps or extensions.
The implementation plan calls for the work to be included in the 2024 capital plan, with final costs and timing dependent on council direction, ordering and delivery and installation.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe moved the motion to accept the recommended option 1, but without the crosswalk removals.
The motion was subsequently amended to direct administration to prioritize the crosswalk improvements and bring forward a scheduled implementation plan over one or two years.
After the measure passed unanimously, Dafoe put forward a subsequent motion calling on administration to come back to a future council meeting with the traffic safety priority improvements list, and the amount available in the safety reserve, for a discussion on what may be achieved n 2023.
“How many of these can we knock off this year with whatever money that is sitting there,” he said. “These things are important to Councillor St. Denis, they certainly are to me, and presumably everyone in this room.
“Can we make the community safer with money that is sitting there, with money designated by a council motion to be used exactly for safety?”
The motion passed five to one, with Dafoe, Mayor Simon Boersma, and Councillors Ray White, Scott Richardson, and Maurice St. Denis in favour and Councillor Jen Anheliger opposed. Councillor Rebecca Balanko was not present.
The implementation plan was based on the recommendations of the pedestrian crossing review completed by consultants Bunt and Associates last spring.
The review examined 47 of Morinville’s crossings, with recommendations based on traffic count, crossing usage, and proximity to other crossing locations.
Council has an existing motion on the books regarding the intersection of Grandin and 100 Avenue pending a report coming out of a recent traffic safety open house.
I am all for safety implementation. But in this lovely town, and as a driver, I oftentimes find pedestrians aren’t paying attention to their own safety. Just this week, I was facing north by the Scotiabank and stopped at a red light, with my signal light to turn east. This young man, after my light turned green, proceeded to walk directly in front of my car (on his phone) while the walk light was flashing DON’T WALK. Scared me!!! Pedestrians have to also use much more caution. There were cars also turning east coming from the north. Geez! Lucky guy I guess!!!