May 2, 2014 5:31 pm

Winnipeg police board downplays cameras for crosswalks

A proposal to enforce pedestrian corridors with cameras is still on the table, but city officials say they prefer other alternatives like public education campaigns

Tamara Forlanski

WINNIPEG – As Winnipeggers come out of hibernation, more and more people are walking to get where they need to do go.

But there is a constant struggle between drivers and pedestrians over who has the right of way, especially at pedestrian corridors.

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“The motorist has to see those lights activated and again that is their signal to stop and yield to the pedestrian and we often see they don’t,” said Brian Smiley, with Manitoba Public Insurance. “There is no respect for the pedestrian, at the same time the pedestrian needs to have eye contact with the motorist, move across the corridor as fast as they can without running.”

The city was looking into a request to put photo radar cameras in pedestrian corridors. A report pegged the cost at $60,000 for each camera site. The Winnipeg Police Board referred the report to the Public Works department who will focus more on making corridors safer through public awareness campaigns and possibly improving the locations through painted lines and signage and not through cameras.

“I am actually not a supporter of the cameras,” said St. James councillor Scott Fielding, who also chairs the police board. “I think the engineering of it, how they are building these corridors and if there are some issues with them we have to make sure they are safe, that is something the city can do.”

It would require a change in legislation from the province to install cameras in crosswalks.

The Winnipeg Police Services supports looking at ways to make sure people walking in the city are safe.

“There is more study that needs to be done, just in pedestrian safety on the whole, not just at corridors and i think that is what we are looking at doing,” said Staff Sgt. Rob Riffel.

According to Manitoba Public Insurance an average of 16 pedestrians are killed every year in the province with over 300 injured. Statistics show Saturday is the most dangerous day when it comes to fatal collisions involving pedestrians.

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