City won’t install crosswalk near St. Mary’s school

Council followed city staff’s recommendation that no new crosswalk be installed at St. Mary’s School, at Monday’s meeting.

Council followed city staff’s recommendation that no new crosswalk be installed at St. Mary’s School, at Monday’s meeting.

Earlier this year, council had asked the city’s engineering department to have a second look at a request from the school’s principal for the installation of an crosswalk at the intersection of 4th Street South and 16th Avenue South.

In January, city had recommended against the crosswalk, as it didn’t meet the the criteria for the City of Cranbrook Street Sign and Road Marking Manual, or the Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual for British Columbia. Back in November, 2014, principal Jerelynn MacNeil contacted the city to request a crosswalk be installed.

Coun. Isaac Hockley was one of the councillors   that asked staff to take a second look at the crosswalk back in January, noting he’d attended the school in the past. He did a student count to see if there was need for a crosswalk.

“I know I said when I was a kid going to St. Mary’s I walked across there all the time, but to be honest I didn’t see too many kids using that as a crosswalk,” Hockley said.

In considering the request, the Engineering and Development Services Department conducted a pedestrian count, as well as contacting ICBC,  School District 5 and the principal of St. Mary’s.

Coun. Tom Shypitka said he agreed with city staff, but suggested maybe they could do something on a temporary basis to calm speeds.

“But I think it doesn’t fit the plan as far as provincial and municipal crosswalks are concerned,” Shypitka said.

The pedestrian count was conducted after school on Jan. 21, 2015. The count found that five students crossed in the vicinity of the requested sidewalk — four crossing south to north, and one crossing north to south. They also found that only one student arrived by bus near the requested crossing.

Coun. Norma Blissett noted the low numbers of students using that section to cross.

“It doesn’t seem to warrant the crosswalk,” Blissett said.

The city noted that the one student had been “grandfathered” into the bus service, as the school district had discontinued the service to St. Mary’s. That student will be moving on from the school in the the next few years, at which point the bus service will be discontinued completely.

Blissett thanked staff for collecting the information.

“There certainly was some question when we were debating the issue about what was really happening there and the frequency of use,” she said. “I appreciate that.”

ICBC told the city that while crosswalks can be placed in areas where pedestrians counts are low and not warranted according to standards, the location has to be safe. City engineering staff wrote they don’t believe that location to be safe since there is no sidewalk on the school side of the road.

City staff noted that they had spoken with the principal and gave the reasoning for recommending against crosswalk installation there. MacNeil requested instead for one to be placed on nearby Rotary Trail, but staff said there is not enough pedestrian traffic on the trails to warrant crosswalks.

The crosswalk cost was estimated at $925 for installation and $200 for yearly maintenance.