City needs a walking strategy, group says

New Westminster’s transit, bicycles and pedestrians committee wants the city to come up with a “comprehensive walking strategy.”

The committee recommended to council a staff person or a consultant be appointed to champion the strategy that would be based on ‘best practices for pedestrians’ used in other cities.

“Although customers may arrive by bus, train or vehicle, everyone walks into a store and therefore improving the pedestrian environment means a better environment for business,” said the committee.

The committee called on future decisions on pedestrian matters be developed in consultation with pedestrians and come from observing behaviour and looking at pedestrian and vehicular statistics.

It asked that push buttons to activate pedestrian traffic signals be eliminated at intersections where full vehicle traffic signals already exist.

They suggest no obstacles, like utility poles, parking meters and sandwich boards be placed on sidewalks in the future.

Additionally, contractors should be required to develop a plan with the city to accommodate pedestrian traffic before beginning construction and then be required to abide by the plan. It also asked for an education program for motorists and cyclists to teach them the fights of pedestrians and to encourage paying attention to their safety.

City staff told the committee many of the recommendations are already in line with current policies, but the “implications of some recommendations such as pedestrian push buttons and utility poles on sidewalk area will have to be assessed.”

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