Pedestrians that regularly cross at a northeast Calgary intersection where a person was hit Monday believe area drivers aren’t paying proper attention to foot traffic in the area.
On Monday morning, the Twitter account @YYCTransport tweeted out a pedestrian incident at the intersection of 52 Street and 44 Avenue / Temple Drive NE. On Jan. 5, a pedestrian was hit at 52 Street and 23 Avenue NE.
Last year, in pedestrian collision data mapped by LiveWire Calgary, there were two incidents at or near the same intersection.
Users at the 44 Avenue intersection said they don’t believe drivers are paying enough attention, especially when walkers are crossing when drivers are trying to make a left turn.
Near misses common say area walkers
Satpal Sharma has lived in the area for 19 years. He frequents the intersection because walking as transportation has become his “hobby.” He said he’s seen several near misses in the area and points the finger at impatient drivers.
“There’s good walking signs. When you see a sign, we start walking, we start crossing the road, but some drivers don’t care for the pedestrians,” Sharma said, recalling one time where he’d even raised his hand to notify the driver of his crossing and yet the vehicle passed through the intersection.
A young woman, who wanted her name withheld, said she walks the 44 Avenue intersection regularly. While she generally feels safe, she said the pedestrian signal timing pushes a lot of people to cross the street rather than wait.
“The issue is, you see, it’s (the light) is not turning to the walk sign. So, people have to make the decision to walk or not walk,” she said.
She described left-hand turns by drivers in the area. Drivers are moving into the intersection and trying to make the left turn, but walkers haven’t cleared the crosswalk. The young woman believed a left turn signal would make a difference in the area.
That’s one measure that could be implemented as the city will undertake a review of that intersection this year, said Tony Churchill, leader, traffic safety with the City of Calgary.
“We did take a look at the collision data and actually just based on our screening, this did come up as a location that has more collisions than you would expect for that type of intersection,” he said.
Churchill said they saw an overrepresentation of “left turn across path collisions,” something like what the young woman described at the location.
Other 52 Street NE intersections analyzed
The city has looked at other intersections to the south of 44 Avenue along 52 Street in prior safety reviews and examined signal phasing, location of push buttons and ease of access.
Churchill said a variety of factors, including two commercial nodes kitty-corner to one another, multiple lanes in all four directions and nearby Calgary Transit stops contribute to both volume of vehicles and of pedestrians.
They could look at leading pedestrian intervals (pedestrians get a walk signal a few seconds ahead of a green light to allow time to cross the intersection), or a protected left turn (left turn arrow).
“So, it’s the flashing arrow where you get to go as a motorist, you get to make your left turn. There’s no conflicting traffic. There’s no opposing traffic coming toward you. And there’s no pedestrians going in the crosswalk,” Churchill said.
There’s no specific timeline on the review, but Churchill said they do their annual network screening based on the most recent collision data and where priority areas crop up.