Full pedestrian signals are going in along Vedder Road

New traffic lights coming for Vedder Road

New full-stop pedestrian signals are going in along Vedder Road, at Storey Avenue and at Alder Avenue in Chilliwack.

Darting across four lanes of traffic on a busy arterial like Vedder Road can have its challenges.

Some pedestrian crosswalks have led to complaints to Chilliwack city hall. They’ve been the scene of injuries, and near misses.

Now two new full-stop pedestrian signals are going in along Vedder Road, at Storey Avenue and at Alder Avenue.

Council referred the issue back to staff twice for expert guidance on the range of options it could consider, before it came up a third time in council chambers.

Improvements in the form of new traffic signals were finally green-lighted at the last council meeting.

They’re road-tested, and everyone is familiar with the red-amber-green signals, with the walk and don’t walk signs. They’re considered the safest option for pedestrians.

Crashes are relatively infrequent at the crosswalks, but when they do occur, they tend to be serious, according to staff.

A senior citizen was struck by a vehicle last July trying to zip across one of the crossings in question.

That highlighted an area of concern for city officials. Staff investigated and recommended the new pedestrian signal.

Flow of traffic was a big concern of some of the city councillors when the issue was first discussed in chambers. Some said they not in favour of stopping traffic along a busy road like Vedder at more stops.

But new computer modelling in a consultant’s study has shown there will be “no reduction of LOS” meaning reduced level of service. It showed the new lights will not impede the flow of Vedder traffic to any great degree because actual traffic stoppages will be infrequent and short, said staff.

At $150,000 for each set of signals, the funds come out of development cost charges contained in the city’s DCC Transportation fund for 2014, staff said.

Consultant McElhanny recommended moving the location of one of the lights, from Vedder at Wells, to Vedder At Alder Avenue to avoid the rail crossing. Both lights will be coordinated to reduce the instances of stopping twice, and the existing signals at Knight and Spruce will also be programmed for coordination to improve service on Vedder.