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New in-ground crosswalk signs aim to slow drivers down in Halifax school zones

Click to play video: 'Halifax to pilot in-ground crosswalk signs in school zones' Halifax to pilot in-ground crosswalk signs in school zones
WATCH: The city has rolled out a new crosswalk safety measure at a few schools around the municipality. The pilot program has been successful in other Canadian cities and aims to further encourage drivers to slow down when children are present. Alexa MacLean has the story. – Aug 28, 2020

Drivers may notice a new safety measure at five school crosswalk locations throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality.

In-ground crosswalk signs are being piloted through the Strategic Road Safety Plan, a municipal project that aims to improve road safety for all road users including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

“Nothing says that there’s a crosswalk there like something stuck right in the middle. It’s basically to raise the visibility of our crosswalks and I discovered that this was a recognized traffic measure and wanted to try it,” says Coun. Lorelei Nicoll, representative for Cole Harbour-Westphal and chair of the municipality’s transportation standing committee.

Read more: Trauma doctor sparks discussions around pedestrian safety in HRM

The in-ground crosswalk signs are being tested at five school crosswalk locations throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)

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Those locations are Langbrae Drive at Red Fern Terrace, Novalea Drive at Normandy Drive, Cow Bay Road at Oceanlea Drive, Colby Drive at Colby Village Elementary and Stokil Drive at Sampson Drive.

According to the municipality, signs that are mounted in the street are more noticeable than signs on the side of the road.

Nicoll thought it was time to bring the initiative to the region’s high pedestrian areas, like school zones.

She says the main hurdle will be whether the signs can make it through winter in Nova Scotia.

“Our weather is maybe a detriment to its success. So, this is a pilot, trial project, they’re going to see how it survives,” she says.

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Nicoll says the measure is part of a larger effort to increase road safety and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries.

She says tracking data with the Halifax Regional Police will play a key role in determining the success of the projects.

“Since the pandemic, our requests for traffic calming on streets have increased quite a bit. People are feeling because there’s a pandemic that there’s fewer people in vehicles so they’re driving faster,” Nicoll says.

Read more: Coun. Lorelei Nicoll announces end to 12-year municipal politics career in Halifax

According to the latest statistics from police, two pedestrians have died this year from being struck by a vehicle, two pedestrians have suffered major injuries and 14 received moderate injuries.

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