Those bright yellow blocks at the city’s busiest intersection could soon be a permanent marker in downtown Trail.
The four-way stop controlled intersection at Bay and Farwell initially appears to be successful, explained Trail’s engineering technician John Howes, adding that the city is scheduled to begin an operations review of the trial period next month.
The effectiveness of the concrete blocks is part of a review that also includes a study of collision history at the site, and detailed traffic counts during peak hours on weekdays and weekends.
“An additional conflict analysis study will be performed,” said Howes. “This study will be a relative measure of intersection violations and pedestrian/vehicle conflicts between the four-way stop and the signalized intersection.”
Howes maintains that the frequency of collisions at the intersection is low, and the placement of the concrete blocks acts as physical shield between drivers and pedestrians, improving safety for those travelling through the downtown location on foot.
He said the blocks reduce the length of the crossing by allowing pedestrians to take a couple extra steps into the crosswalk, and for some, the blocks add an extra feeling of protection before stepping out into the traffic zone.
“The large blocks are there to reduce the likelihood of a driver cutting a corner,” explained Howes. “Or sneaking by a vehicle, and increasing the risk of an accident and potential injury.”
Which means, if the city opts to keep the intersection four-way controlled, the canary coloured barriers could be here to stay as a safety feature.
“We made some minor adjustments to better allow the buses to get in tight to the curb for safer pedestrian loading,” he continued. “The large blocks also allow for the mounting of signage and adjustable placement of the blocks.”
The second busiest downtown Trail intersection at Cedar Avenue and Farwell Street could be next up for a viability test of converting from signal lights to a four-way stop.
“Control of this intersection could also be modified pending the results of the Bay and Farwell evaluation, ” Howes noted.
Conversion of internal traffic signals downtown to four-way stops can reduce congestion on the internal streets, although there is the risk of increased exposure to pedestrian collision due to drivers failing to comply with stop signs, and an increase of rear-end and right-angle type collisions.
“However, four-way stops do give the feeling of a more traffic calmed environment and can potentially reduce congestion,” he added.