At a Transportation Committee meeting on September 4, Councillor Fleury moved a motion (Additional Item, Item 7) that would look at mid-block pedestrian crossings. His motion follows Councillor Allan Hubley’s petition to the Ministry of Transportation, which was denied on August 13. The Ministry of Transportation rejected a request to change the Highway Traffic Act and give pedestrians the right of way due to a lack of proper infrastructure in Ottawa that would help to direct traffic (amber lights and proper signage).
Councillor Fleury’s motion suggested that the City implement signs, amber lights, and Pedestrian Crossovers (PXOs) as a pilot project in areas where there is no stop sign or crossing guard, and research the effects of installing the proper infrastructure referenced by the Ministry of Transportation. Councillors would like to have a comprehensive study on giving the right of way to pedestrians to present to the Ministry of Transportation. City staff suggested that their report on the pilot project could be completed in a few years’ time but Councillors on the Committee were collectively dissatisfied and requested that a report be released in a more timely fashion. Councillors Bloess and Hubley expressed that they would like the study to be done immediately so that the initial report can be completed in a few months.
Councillor Fleury asked city staff if Ottawa is the only city that does not do enough to protect its pedestrians, and received a response that Ontario and Quebec are the only provinces in the country that do not prioritize pedestrians, but Quebec is working on changing that fact. Providing research and reports on methods of prioritizing pedestrians in Ottawa will help the Ministry of Transportation recommend changes that will give priority to pedestrians. Councillor Fleury’s motion also included a recommendation that Council inform the Ministry of Transportation that Ottawa be prioritized for piloting any new devices that are recommended in the future based upon its position on the matter.
Councillor Fleury’s motion did not look at the entire pedestrian issue that Hubley’s petition encompassed, but the two Councillors were in agreement that there is a need for something to be done to better protect pedestrians and give them the right of way. Councillors Fleury and Hubley receive a Thumbs Up for their work on this issue and their diligence on protecting and promoting the safety of pedestrians. Thumbs Up to the Councillors on the Transportation Committee for voting to protect the rights and safety of pedestrians.