As an increasing number of pedestrians are hit by cars in Halifax, the city is giving them more time to get across the street.

The city says the walking lights at crosswalks are now up longer, something the friend of an 81-year-old woman killed in a crosswalk last weekend says is a good idea.

“I think it’s certainly helpful,” says Beulah Kemp-Meade. “Certainly, as you get older, you don’t walk as fast.”

The reason for the crosswalk changes are in part due to an aging population.

Halifax participated in a national study that reviewed how long it takes people to cross the street and began implementing changes in February.

“The pedestrian walking signals were calculated based on a walking speed of 1.2 metres per second and that has since been lowered to one metre per second, so that essentially gives people more time to cross the road,” says city spokesperson Jennifer Stairs.

In almost every crosswalk, the walk sign is up for seven seconds, followed by the flashing hand signal. The length of time the flashing hand signal is up depends on the length of the crosswalk.

Ahsan Habib, an assistant professor of transportation engineering and planning at Dalhousie University, says changing pedestrian lights is a good step, but it’s not enough.

“We really need some engineering changes, like improving the design of the intersection,” says Habib, who recently completed a two-year study on collision patterns and trends.

Kemp-Meade says she’s not sure what else the city can do to cut down on crosswalk collisions, but for now she’s focusing on remembering her friend.

“She was energetic and full of life and loved to do things.”

She hopes the crosswalk changes will help pedestrians, especially the elderly, get to the other side of the street safely.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell