A six-month pilot project that will use flags to help pedestrians using crosswalks become more visible to motorists got underway on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, with the installation at three locations of baskets containing the flags.
The locations are:
These crosswalks were selected for the pilot project because they are “mid-block” crosswalks that are not located at intersections, experience heavy volumes of pedestrian and motorized traffic and have no other means of traffic control, such as a stop sign, traffic lights or overhead lighting that tell motorists to stop for pedestrians.
Pedestrians at these crosswalks are encouraged to take a flag from the container, stop at the curb or edge of the street and hold the flag out in front of them to signal they would like to cross. Once traffic stops, they should proceed across the street while continuing to hold the flag out in front of them.
Once safely across the street, the flag should be placed in the container that is located there.
The decision to conduct the pilot project was made by Amherst town council in September after several councillors raised concerns about many people having difficulty crossing the street at the crosswalk by Centennial Villa.
The councillors hope using the flags will result in pedestrians and motorists becoming more attentive, resulting in the crosswalks becoming safer.
This is not the first time a community has used flags to increase awareness at crosswalks. A Crosswalk Flag Program was initiated on Waverly Road in Dartmouth in 2008. Its success led the Halifax Regional Municipality to install flags at several crosswalks throughout that community.
The pilot project in Amherst will be monitored by town staff and, if successful, the findings may be used to develop a policy that defines where crosswalk flags should be used within the town.