The Waverley Road Crosswalk Flag has been cancelled - Here's Why


We have been advised by the HRM Traffic and Right of Way Department that the crosswalk flags along Waverley Road need to be removed.


On February 10, 2009 the Waverley Road Crosswalk Flag group presented the experience of the program to HRM Council, with the goal of having the program expanded.  In response to that presentation Council approved a motiong that the Mayor request the Transportation Association of Canada approve the crosswalk flags as a 'trafic control device'.  A copy of Mayor Kelly's letter is linked at the bottom of this page.

As input for the consideration of TAC we provided reaearch on 22 crosswalk programs throughout the United States, along with issues we thought TAC would consider, e.g. colour of the flags, bucket height from the ground, etc.  A copy of our input is also linked at the bottom of this page.


TAC reviewed the request and concluded "that crosswalk flags are not a traffic control device and as such, do not recommend inclusion of crosswalk flags in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada".  The TAC response is also linked at the bottom of this page. 


The reasons provided are perplexing in their absence of supporting data and logic, let alone relevance

- Crosswalk flags are not recognized in provincial and territorial Traffic Acts as traffic control devices. 

Therefore, there is no legal requirement for a motorist to stop


Response:  the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act requires a driver " yield the right of way to a pedestrian lawfully within a crosswalk or stopped facing a crosswalk..." (Section 125.1(a)) whether they are in possession of a flag or not.  


- As motorists are not required to stop, the use of crosswalk flags may lead to motorist confusion or surprise, resulting in unsafe driving behaviour


Response: as noted, motorists are required to yield the right of way at crosswalks.  The premise of this consequent conjecture is therefore irrelevant.


- The use of crosswalk flags provides a false sense of security to pedestrians, who may assume the crosswalk flag gives them the legal authority to stop traffic.  This may lead to unsafe situations where a pedestrian does not wait for an appropriate gap in traffic or for vehicles to stop before stepping into the roadway.


Response:  TAC provides no data to support their view.  The legal authority for a vehichle to yield the right of way to a pedestrian exists by the pedestrian being within or facing the stopped crosswalk, whether the pedestrian is carrying a flag or not.  Furthermore, if this arguement is valid for crosswalk flags then it certainly is equally valid for overhead lighting.


- Crosswalk flags can be easily stolen, vandalized and/or littered, leading to additonal inspection and replacement costs, and postential liability in locations where no crosswalk flags are available


Response:  we fail to understand why the cost of a program is of any relevance to whether TAC considers a crosswalk flag to be a traffic control device.  TAC has no business factoring in the cost and management of the program to their consideration.  If TAC is to suggest potential liability in locations where no crossswalk flags are available, surely they must then agree there is potential liability in locations where no overhead lighting is available.


A link to the an email sent to TAC requesting futher clarification on the factors they state they based their decision on is also at the end of this page.


We have also provided this input to HRM Traffic and Right of Way, but regrettably they have had no impact.  The Manager, HRM Traffic and Right of Way, is of the view that crosswalk flags provide the pedestrian a false sense of security and believes education and enforcement should be the focus of improved crosswalk safety, rather than signage and visibility. 


We recently received notification from Mr. Reashor in which he states "I'm not prepared to endorse or allow the continuation o fthe is prorgram any where within HRM right of way.  Therefore, we request you remove the flags and containers from teh existing locations by July 31, 2009."


Mr. Reashor's full response is linked below.


In an effort to have TAC reconsider their position we have submitted a request that includes conclusion of the US Department of Transportaion (USDOT) that are inconsistent with those of TAC and Mr. Reashor, demonstrating that the data used has shortcoming that may cause the conlcusion that there are fewer incidents at unmarked crosswalks to be wrong - noting the USDOT, after an exhausitve review, does not have evidence to support such a conclusion.  We also noted the denial of crosswalk flags as a traffic control device based on a view that "The use of crosswalk flags provides a false sense of security to pedestrians" is inconsistent with the treatment of other traffic control devices such as pavement markings signage and lighting.


The full submission is linked below.

Mayor Kelly Letter to TAC.pdf Mayor Kelly Letter to TAC.pdf
Size : 0.042 Kb
Type : pdf
TAC Input.doc TAC Input.doc
Size : 0.092 Kb
Type : doc
TAC Response.jpg TAC Response.jpg
Size : 0.977 Kb
Type : jpg
TAC Clarification - July 13, 2009.doc TAC Clarification - July 13, 2009.doc
Size : 0.027 Kb
Type : doc
Reashor Response.doc Reashor Response.doc
Size : 0.025 Kb
Type : doc
TAC Submission.doc TAC Submission.doc
Size : 0.049 Kb
Type : doc