Residents demand new crosswalk

Armstrong pedestrians are putting themselves at risk to access retail shops on the east side of the 2800 block of Smith Drive because there are no sidewalks or safe pedestrian approaches.

Adding a crosswalk in the block is the focus of a 222-name petition handed to Armstrong council.

“We’re hoping to get a crosswalk there because everybody there is 55 and over, and we would like to get a safe route across the street to the (Fortune Creek IDA) pharmacy,” said Troy de Vries, administrator for Green Valley Estates, a housing development located on Smith Drive.

The city uses the Pedestrian Crossing Manual for B.C. that provides a model to allow users to make rational, defensible decisions regarding the installation of pedestrian traffic control devices.

The model takes into consideration traffic and pedestrian volumes, and vehicle arrival patterns (which requires a study), with adjustments related to pedestrian age and ability as well as community size. For this request, the city said the crosswalk most likely will not be warranted.

Mayor Chris Pieper also pointed out some other issues.

“There’s nowhere for the sidewalk to go except to a parking lot,” said Pieper. “All of the engineering criteria that we have to live by, we can’t meet it. So how do we address the safety of the residents?

“Putting a crosswalk to nowhere is like building a road to nowhere.”

City public works manager Doug MacKay showed a picture of the proposed crosswalk location with a crosswalk and raised islands drawn into the photo.

Coun. Steven Drapala asked if a temporary crosswalk could be installed.

“It depends on the location,” said MacKay. “Where it’s shown, there’s a curb there already, so you’d have to climb the curb onto the island, drop back down to the asphalt on the drug store side and then go across and climb the curb up onto the sidewalk. And there’s no wheelchair access.”

Coun. Paul Britton said it could be years until the city puts the project into its capital plans.

“I don’t think we can wait that long,” he said. “I’d like to see something there. Even if it’s temporary, until we do a full plan. I’d like to see something to get the pedestrians across the road.

MacKay estimated the cost of the project at around $7,800.

Pieper said no matter what the city does, without putting a full sidewalk in place, they’re not doing it right.

“I don’t want to re-do all of Smith Drive for a sidewalk,” said Pieper. “Even if it’s just painted lines and putting up a couple of signs, we all want to do something; we’re just not sure what.”

Pieper said the city is not in favour of the proposed drawing that was submitted with the raised islands.

MacKay will look at the situation and bring a report back to council for its next regular meeting Aug. 14.