The Society solicited the input of municipal election candidates with respect to their commitment to crosswalk safety.   Following is the question asked and the responses of those who replied.   The question was not presented to those acclaimed.  For those who did not respond comments, if any have been taken from their website.

"One of HRM’s 2016-2017 Priority Outcomes is pedestrian safety.

 

“Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all share responsibility for travelling safely together.  Through education, enforcement, and improved infrastructure (engineering), pedestrians in Halifax are provided with a safe environment in which to walk”

In our view not enough progress has been made with respect to reducing injuries resulting from collisions.  To August 2016 the number of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in crosswalks is up 16% over 2015 (65 versus 56 pedestrian-vehicle collisions). To June year-to-date 72% of vehicle-pedestrian collisions in the Right of Way occurred in crosswalks.  While some initiatives have been implemented this data suggested the issue of pedestrian safety in crosswalks has not been sufficiently addressed.

We believe insufficient investment has been made in respect of this public safety issue and that as a Priority Outcome more needs to be done/invested.  Over the past few years zebra markings have been added to mid-block crosswalks but not controlled/signalized intersections where most of the vehicle-pedestrian collisions occur.  Crosswalk flags have been allowed, but not at controlled/signalized intersections where most of the collisions occur.  A number of other recommendations (e.g. in-road pylons, reflective tape on crosswalk posts, pedestrian stop signs) of the Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee have not been acted on.  Other cities such as Toronto and Calgary are investing significant additional funds to address their pedestrian/crosswalk safety issues.

If elected will you support at a minimum an additional $500,000 per year beginning in the 2017-2018 budget year dedicated specifically to improved pedestrian safety including, in the absence of any demonstrated safety issues, the provision of zebra markings at controlled and/or signalized intersections, expansion of the crosswalk flag program to controlled and/or signalized intersections and re-consideration of recommendations not acted on of the Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee?

Following are verbatim responses received and those who responded, they being

Mike Savage - Mayor

David Hendsbee - District 2

Waye Mason - District 7

Lindell Smith - District 8

Shawn Cleary - District 9

Russell Walker - District 10

Stephen Adams - District 11

Matt Whitman - District 13

The following acclaimed candidates were not asked their position

Bill Karsten - District 3

Lorelei Nicoll - District 4

Steve Craig - District 15

Tim Outhit - District 16

The following successful candidates did not respond to the question

Steve Streatch - District 1

Sam Austin - District 5

Tony Mancini - District 6

Richard Zurawski - District 12

Lisa Blackburn - District 14


Mayor - Mike Savage

"I have supported the introduction of crosswalk flags, zebra crosswalks, targeted enforcement and investment in awareness campaigns such as Heads Up Halifax. I would be happy to entertain any recommendations for new and enhanced means to address crosswalk safety, but I cannot support the dollar figure referenced above without a broader understanding of how it would be used.  I agree that we need to act on the recommendations of the Crosswalk Safety Advisory Committee and that doing so would entail appropriate resourcing."

District 1 - Steve Streatch

No response to question - no mention of pedestrian/crosswalk safety found on website. 

District 2 - David Hendsbee

"Yes I Do support this initiative to make crosswalks more visible and safer for all concerned. But we need to have more input and authority over crosswalk locations in Rural HRM. Right now we have to convince and justify any requests to the Provincial Traffic Authority and NS Dept. of Transportation. There are many places along Highway 7 on the Eastern Shore that need crosswalks. As well if the Province advances its Blue Route Active Transportation Plan along this corridor with paved shoulders, then it will become evenly more important for the placement of crosswalks in high pedestrian traffic areas."

District 3 - Bill Karsten

Acclaimed - question not asked.

District 4 - Lorelei Nicoll

Acclaimed - question not asked.

District 5 - Sam Austin

No response to questions but the following is available on Councillor Austin's website

"Whether you drive, take transit, walk, use a wheelchair or ride a bicycle, you rely on infrastructure built by the municipality. How we choose to get around has a major impact on our lives and is shaped by the options we’re offered.

For many residents, taking transit, walking and cycling are currently unattractive ways to travel. Halifax Transit’s shortcomings and streets that are hostile and unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists encourages people to drive instead. The resulting traffic congestion hurts our economy, pollutes our environment, damages our health, drives up our taxes and costs us time. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can build a transportation network that is good for both the economy and the environment and that also improves our quality of life.

We need a transportation network that offers choice and safety."

District 6 - Tony Mancini

No response to questions but the following is available on Councillor Mancini's website

"I will work with council to ... work to improve pedestrian safety."

District 7 - Waye Mason

"I support crosswalk flags as an interim step to Vision Zero.

I have made three commitments that I will work to enact after re-elected:

• HRM will provide funding and staff to ensure a network of connected cycle paths is completed within three years.
• HRM will adopt NACTO standards, especially minimum lane widths and traffic calming in residential neighbourhoods, so that everyone can share the roadway safely.
• HRM will adopt the Vision Zero mandate for traffic engineering, and start working toward the goal of no traffic fatalities or serious injuries. 

I wrote more about my progressive ideas for traffic and roads in the future here: http://www.votewayemason.ca/safestreets"

District 8 - Lindell Smith

"I am in full support of improving and supporting pedestrian safety within HRM. Without more information on how we could support an additional $500,000, I cannot fully commit to that number. I do however support a greater allocation of funds to increase the safety of our residents."

Shawn Cleary - District 9

"Making our streets safe is my number one priority. In the last few months, hundreds and hundreds of residents have told me that it is their priority too. I have written and talked extensively on the subject. I encourage people to check out these two posts on my website: http://shawnclearyhalifax.ca/trying-to-cross-the-street-shouldnt-be-a-dangerous-stunt/http://shawnclearyhalifax.ca/use-the-integrated-mobility-plan-to-make-local-streets-safe/.  In a nutshell, we need more marked crosswalks, better street design, lower speed limits on residential side streets, more enforcement, a more efficient process for streets to be calmed. Ensuring our roads are safe for pedestrians means our streets will be safe for everyone."

Russell Walker - District 10

"I am a strong supporter of crosswalk safety. I will support the ask of $500,000. Per year added to the budget. This should go to the Transportation Committee for a staff report and have it added to the budget. I past years getting items added during the budget process is difficult as something must come out."

Steve Adams - District 11

"I am confident that my past support for pedestrian safety reflects my future support."

District 12 - Richard Zurawski

No response to question - no mention of pedestrian/crosswalk safety found on website. 

Matt Whitman - District 13

"You know I'm supportive"

District 14 - Lisa Blackburn

No response to questions but the following is available on Councillor Blackburn's website

"These are the priorities I have heard from residents .... sidewalk/crosswalk safety in our community"

District 15 - Steve Craig

Acclaimed - question not asked.

District 16 - Tim Outhit

Acclaimed - question not asked.