(TECUMSEH, ON) – Essex County has opened the first Pedestrian Cross Over in this area, on Walker Road between Highway 3 and South Talbot Road. The location is where a connector trail crosses Walker Road, joining the Chrysler Greenway to the new trail system along the Highway 401 extension.
“As far as safety goes, that’s our main reason here,” said County Warden Tom Bains.
PXOs are being heralded as the most advanced way for pedestrians to cross busy thoroughfares. A set of LED lights will flash as soon as the pedestrian button is activated to warn drivers of their intent to cross the roadway.
“The flashing light is to draw the driver’s attention to the sign indicating the crossing for pedestrians or cyclists, said Tom Bateman, the director of transportation services for the County of Essex. “Here the flashing lights drive you to look to where the person is standing, so it’s really getting the driver and the pedestrian to make eye contact.”
OPP Sergeant Rick Tonial described the procedure that should be followed for crossing at a PXO.
“The county has used the provincial standards of Bill 31 to put up these lights and this crossing, so when a pedestrian comes to this intersection they are able to activate the lights, wait for traffic to stop, and then travel across the intersection,” Tonial said. “When the lights stop, or when the persons are completely across the intersection, then the motorists can continue moving.”
This is the first PXO to be installed in Essex County. And though there aren’t plans in place to proceed with installations in any other locations, there is the awareness that more are needed.
“This is our pilot case and we’re hoping that these will make it safe for pedestrians crossing roads, and similar to the roundabouts we hope there will be many more to come,” said Bains. “There are a number of possible locations. But the plan is that there will be many more to follow.”
Tecumseh mayor Gary McNamara hopes that making the crossing of busy roadways easier for pedestrians will encourage more use of the trail system.
“This is a great addition to certainly the county and region,” said McNamara. “Not only in making it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross, but also by facilitating connectivity between our two major trail networks. We want to encourage our residents to have that healthier lifestyle, to bike and walk through the trail system. We want to make sure they’re safe when they meet up at the crossings their going to encounter during their progress through the trail system.