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Marked Crosswalks - updated July 2013

What are they?

Marked CrosswalkCrosswalk SignA marked crosswalk installation consists of two painted parallel lines across the roadway and four ground mounted pedestrian crosswalk signs, two signs for each direction of travel.

What are the issues?

Since crosswalks exist by legal definition at all intersections whether marked or unmarked, the determination of whether a crosswalk needs to be marked is based primarily on the necessity to create gaps in traffic. At locations with low traffic volume, pedestrians can generally cross a street without difficulty and more safely by waiting a short time for an adequate gap. On higher volume streets, pedestrians may experience excessive delays while waiting for acceptable gaps unless drivers stop to permit them to cross. Marked crosswalks are useful in providing notice to drivers that pedestrians are likely to be encountered at a particular location on a regular basis. If the pedestrian activity is minimal and sporadic, however, the marked crosswalk becomes a redundant device and simply becomes part of the background "sign clutter" along the roadside. When crosswalk markings are used sparingly, individual locations are more conspicuous. To over-saturate the streets with crosswalk markings would reduce their significance greatly.

When are they used by HRM Traffic Services?

The following criteria ensure that marked crosswalks are established only at locations where a need for pedestrian assistance exists and where operation of such an installation will be safe and efficient.

  1. Each crosswalk is assessed on a case by case basis using the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Pedestrian Control Guide, which reviews:
    • Pedestrian volumes
    • Vehicular volumes
    • Connectivity - which is based on pedestrian desire lines or a requirement for system connectiviity
    • Spacing
  1. Crosswalks will not be marked at locations where pedestrian safety may be compromised:
    • where visibility is restricted by horizontal or vertical alignment
    • where stopping sight distance is insufficient due to prevailing operating speeds
    • by complex lane configuration and usage.