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Halifax seniors raise crosswalk safety concerns
After two seniors died in the summer as a result of being struck by vehicles while walking in crosswalks, seniors in Halifax say they feel vulnerable when it comes to navigating the city as pedestrians.
Despite living in downtown Halifax for over 40 years, senior Valerie Poulson doesn’t go for walks in her neighbourhood anymore, citing cars going well above the speed limit as the reason. And with drivers going as fast as 100kph in 70kph zones, she says she’s seen many close calls – but not enough being done about it.
“There's no police, there's no radar, not even on the weekends,” says Poulson. “On Saturday and Sunday there's nobody with radar – and boy do they speed on Saturday and Sunday.”
Halifax Police say officers do patrol for speed enforcement. But other seniors, like 72-year-old Janet Brush, have similar complaints and doesn’t feel safe. However, her problem is the limited amount of time she has to cross the street.
“The biggest one [problem] is the short crossing time at lighted intersections,” says Brush. “Especially in the winter. I walk very slowly in the winter because I don't want to fall down.”
The city says it bases crossing times on street measurements, but changes could be made.
“Crossing times vary based on the width of the street,” says HRM spokesperson, Brynn Langille. “That being said, staff are open to reviewing any specific areas where additional time may be required.”
HRM says it has taken steps to improve crosswalk safety, including enhancing crosswalks and installing other road safety measures.
Despite city measures, three pedestrians have died in Halifax this year – all either senior age or approaching senior age – a worrying fact for a growing demographic.
“There's more of us every day,” says Brush. “The demographic is changing rapidly, and that's another thing that's not considered by government and planners.”
Meanwhile, the city has adopted a five-year road safety framework with the goal of eliminating transportation fatalities and injuries by the year 2038. Seniors say the city needs to consult more often with them concerning what they'd like to see in terms of improvements.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Heidi Petracek