Minor improvements possible for traffic and pedestrian lights

The crossing walk button at Wyandotte St. E. and Devonshire Rd. in Windsor. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle.)

Improved traffic flow and crosswalk signals could be coming to a street near you.

Councillor Michael Bondy will bring forward a motion during the next council meeting asking that municipal staff properly sync all pedestrian signals with traffic lights across Chatham-Kent.

Bondy said as someone who frequently walks, he’s noticed some inconsistencies with the way pedestrian signals work.

“What I’ve come to notice is that many pedestrian symbols do not add up to the actual traffic light,” he said. “What happens is when you go to cross the street as a pedestrian, you will get a do not walk sign forever.”

As a specific example, Bondy said when trying to cross Grand Avenue at St. Clair Street, often times the pedestrian signal will indicate that you’re not allowed to walk even when the traffic light is green. He said he’s hopeful that solving the problem is an easy fix that won’t take staff too much time.

“I think it’s probably a really easy thing to fix that would make a big difference. Then they work, that’s why they’re there,” he said.

For Bondy, the motion is about addressing safety concerns. He said it can be more dangerous to be a pedestrian in a municipality like Chatham-Kent, adding that often times it’s just one person trying to cross a busy street.

“It’s more dangerous walking here than in other cities… In Toronto, you’re always watching for pedestrians because there are tons of them. When the light changes, 60 people will cross. That’s power in numbers,” he said. “Here, if you’re the only [person crossing] and it’s dark, it would be nice if the symbols would work.”

Another complaint Bondy said he’s heard several times is that crosswalk indicators in the area don’t last long enough.

“People don’t have enough time to get across the street,” he said. “They’re mid-street, mid-crossing and the crosswalk symbol will stop. That’s very dangerous and again, an easy fix.”

Bondy’s motion also requests that staff review all the traffic lights in the municipality to ensure effective traffic flow. He describes it as overall traffic management, something he said he doesn’t believe has been done in while.

“There are many advanced greens or there’s not an advanced green in places where, it’s been that way for decades. I know that some of them were geared towards when Navistar had shift changes… those things have just never been adjusted. There are several no left turns,” Bondy added. “Is there a reason there’s no left turn coming down King Street at Fifth? It seems like a very easy fix for something that’s very confusing for many people. ”

The motion will be up for discussion during Monday night’s council meeting.