A pedestrian makes their way across Fern Road at Memorial Avenue in Qualicum Beach. The town’s council has just agreed to have staff look into extending the signalized cross time, as some citizens have spoken out saying it’s not long enough. — Google Maps image

Qualicum Beach seniors need more time to cross the street?

Town council looking at extending crossing time at signalized crosswalks

How long does it take to cross a road?

Longer than the signalized crosswalk at Fern Road and Memorial Avenue, according to some.

“This came up during the campaign, of some seniors saying, ‘I don’t have enough time to cross,’” said Coun. Robert Filmer at the council’s Dec. 17 meeting.

“During… the two weeks of Remembrance, I volunteered with the Legion to do a poppy drive in front of Pharmasave and I stood there and there is not enough time for some of our seniors to get across,” said Filmer.

To address that, he made a motion that “council direct staff to look into options and implications for increasing the traffic light signalized pedestrian crossing times at Fern Road and Memorial (Avenue).”

He said, from counting the crosswalk time, the signal gives about 13 seconds to cross.

Coun. Teunis Westbroek was the first councillor to weigh in, saying that he’s not opposed to looking into the timing, but that “we’ve tried this several times, and what I’ve seen is if you start walking when the light changes, then it’s pretty well enough, but if you start walking after it’s already clicking away, then you don’t have enough time for some people.”

“I think we’re stretching the limit (of the crossing time),” he said. “I think we’ve got the longest, maybe ask our engineer, I think we’ve got the longest time for a pedestrian to cross there than anywhere else.”

The town’s engineer said that he would have to check into the times, and preferred not to weigh in until then.

Filmer, however, contested Westbroek’s assertion. “On that point of timing, I did go to the city of Parksville to time some of theirs, and some of theirs range from 18 to 23 seconds,” Filmer said.

“There is lots of time for them to cross. I’m not saying that we need 23 seconds because it’s already hard enough to drive down Memorial Avenue, but we need a little more than 13 seconds.”

Coun. Scott Harrison commented in support of Filmer’s motion.

“Feeling that you have to rush across the road as hard as you can, when you’re dealing with a walker, maybe it’s raining or maybe there’s snow on the ground, I don’t think it’s a huge imposition of another three or four seconds of our day, and it can make a big difference for some citizens with limited mobility.”

The motion was carried unanimously.

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