Cranbrook Council questions crosswalk criteria

City engineering recommends against St. Mary’s School request

At the Monday night city council meeting, CAO Wayne Staudt explained that the engineering department is recommending against installing a crosswalk at St. Mary’s School.

The school’s principal sent a request to council asking for a crosswalk on 4th Street South and 16th Avenue South late last year.

Engineering staff noted that the location doesn’t meet the criteria set out by the City of Cranbrook Street Sign and Road Marking Manual or the Pedestrian Crossing Control Manual for British Columbia.

At the Nov. 3, 2014 city council meeting, the correspondence from Jerelynn MacNeil, principal of St. Mary’s Catholic Independent School, was referred to the engineering department.

“Our engineering department reviewed that against the city standards and provincial standards and don’t believe a crosswalk is warranted there or would be a safe situation,” Staudt said. He said they would be in contact with MacNeil about the assessment.

Engineering found that the location doesn’t meet the criteria for a crosswalk as there is no pedestrian infrastructure on the school side of the street.

“The pedestrian infrastructure is needed so that pedestrians will be led to and away from the crossing rather than walking over private property or on the road,” city staff wrote in the report delivered to council. “The engineering department believes that placing a crosswalk in this location would promote an unsafe walking environment or trespassing.”

Coun. Wesly Graham disagreed with engineering’s assessment.

“I think a crosswalk should be there,” Graham said. “I attended St. Mary’s as a kid and I crossed there all the time. That’s the natural crossing. I think kids are using it anyway, otherwise they wouldn’t have requested it.”

Graham said a crosswalk there would make sense.

Staudt said by actually putting a crosswalk there, the city would be encouraging the students to cross there.

“So we’re encouraging an unsafe behaviour to get to the crosswalk,” Staudt said.

Graham said that a crosswalk would at least alert drivers about the students crossing.

Staudt also noted that the city would be taking on some liability by putting a crosswalk there, if it runs counter to the municipal and provincial criteria.

Blissett wondered it was possible to install a school zone sign at that location, since the school can’t be seen from there.

Staudt noted some of the road falls on St. Mary’s property and further complicates things, especially around putting in a sidewalk to accompany a crosswalk.