A program that outfitted dozens of Halifax-area crosswalks with reflective flags is set to continue in its current form after regional council voted against expanding the program on Tuesday.
Staff from the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) had recommended councillors not allow any further installations of the flags until a decision on an official policy governing their installation was put in place.
Staff argued that they saw little value in the program as a result of several studies they analyzed.
It’s a recommendation that did not sit well with Norm Collins, President of Crosswalk Safety Society of Nova Scotia, an organization who have placed their own flags at intersections that the city did not.
“People are asking us for [the flags]. These are not us imposing them on the city or the residents,” said Collins.
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A lengthy debate by councillors resulted in the decision to keep the program operating and revisit the matter when the HRM tests other products that will enhance the visibility of crosswalks.
“When you look at the peer-reviewed studies, you find that, at best, they’re questionable. At worst, they can actually increase danger,” said Richard Zurawski, councillor for Timberlea – Beechville – Clayton Park – Wedgewood.
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Zurawski argued that using a flag actually increases the amount of time someone spends on the road; increasing the likelihood of a collision.
“The whole debate on this is erroneous, it’s stupid. We need to fix our roads. We have a road problem, we have a speed problem, we have an attention problem, and they are all more important than the flags,” said Zurawski.