9th Street crossing seen as dangerous

Fernie council is asking the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) to reassess the 9th Street and Highway 3 crossing.

Fernie council is asking the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) to reassess the 9th Street and Highway 3 crossing after receiving a lot of negative feedback from the public.

The pedestrian crossing, which consists of two yellow lights on either side of the highway, was introduced as a pilot project last year, however, during the Feb. 23 meeting, council concluded that the project is proving to be ineffective.

“I would like to have a letter sent to the ministry stating that we have received a lot of complaints regarding the fact that apparently the lights are not as visible [as they could be],” Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano said, adding that there have been a lot of near misses with vehicles and pedestrian traffic. “The lights during the daytime are not bright enough.”

She went on to say, “Here in Fernie, there’s definitely a lot of people upset at that fact that they feel this is a dangerous situation and it needs to be addressed. They feel the City of Fernie needs to be the one addressing it.”

The low sight line and the colour of the lights (yellow versus the typical red) were to blame for the crosswalk being ineffective.

“We’re all geared to drive looking for that overhead lighting,” Coun. Phil Iddon said. “This is contrary to the normal way.”

Iddon however, noted that the pilot project is an improvement from the previous crosswalk.

“We never had any control there in the past, so I think what is there is a vast improvement from what was there,” Iddon said, adding that the reason this was initiated as a pilot project was because it was one tenth the cost of a typical pedestrian crosswalk.

Giuliano added, “It’s just not working as well as it could be.”