Langley Township council voted unanimously to inquire about the cost of installing an oft-requested stop light at an intersection near an Aldergrove elementary school.
At the end of Monday afternoon’s council meeting, Coun. Bob Long put forth the motion to address “many years of concerns” about the crossing on the the south leg of 272nd Street at 28th Avenue, near Shortreed Elementary School.
“I went down there today and activated it – the first thing it said is ‘the orange lights are flashing but be very careful because cars may not stop’,” Long shared among council.
For the intersection, which is frequented by young children heading to and from the school – “it is an absolute expectation when a child pushes the button… that traffic is going to stop and they’re going to cross safely,” Long elaborated.
Long questioned Township staff who said converting the crosswalk into a controlled stop light would cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Township Mayor Jack Froese mentioned that Langley School District representatives asked council to consult them on the matter before a decision is debated over or made.
Couns. Kim Richter and Long maintained that the Aldergrove crosswalk is first and foremost under the authority of the Township.
The four-way intersection is what has worried one Shortreed PAC parent and instilled fear into a 10-year-old from the elementary – enough that both reached out to the Township asking for help.
And both were told a similar thing.
Based on Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) guidelines, traffic and pedestrian volumes at the intersection “do not warrant the installation of a traffic signal,” Township manager of transportation Paul Cordeiro said.
In October, PAC member Cashmere Roder asked the Township to address the crosswalk, a concern voiced by other parents over the years at PAC meetings, she said.
Roder, and other parents including Shortreed principal Chris Wejr, have been witness to “close calls” at the intersection where motorists have nearly missed striking children trying to cross.
Wejr’s biggest concern is motorists passing others on the right, assuming the car in front of them is slowing down to make a left turn, when really they are yielding for a crossing child.
The crosswalk’s overhead lights and in-pavement flashers were installed by the Township in 2007 in an effort to increase pedestrian safety at the four-way crossing.
Grade 4 student Maya Grainger stood at the crosswalk near the end of May with a sign in hand, to say otherwise.
“We need a stop light to keep us safe,” the colourful poster read.
That same week, Grainger sent a letter to the Township council, sharing her concern for classmates who walk home unaccompanied.
“I have seen so many people almost get hit here because there is no stop light,” Grainger wrote.
For now, parents including Roder, and Wejr, and students in their second month back at school will continue to cross 272 Street with trepidation.