The Crosswalk Program is an annually funded capital program that invests in safety and accessibility for people walking and rolling. Its primary focus is to expand the pedestrian network and connect key infrastructure and destinations with active transportation routes.
Trips made by walking or rolling are an important means of day-to-day transportation. Walking is the simplest, most reliable way to travel and is often used in combination with other modes. The City has numerous planning policies, goals, and council priorities to make active transportation efficient, equitable, and safe modes of travel. Supporting infrastructure helps achieve these initiatives by creating a more connected active transportation network and managing potential conflicts between vehicles and other road users. The following list highlights the diverse amount of City plans used to realize its active transportation objectives and overall vision.
Active Transportation Policies, Goals, and Council Priorities:
- Transportation Master Plan (TMP)
- Official Community Plan (OCP)
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP)
- Community Climate Action Plan
- Imagine Kelowna
- Healthy City Strategy Community for All
In order to accomplish planning policies, goals, and council priorities, the City invests in active transportation travel modes through annual capital programs such as:
- Clean Air and Safe Routes for Schools
- Crosswalk Safety
- Sidewalk Network Expansion
- Bike Lane Network Expansion
- Intersection Safety
- Traffic Calming
Additionally, large-scale active transportation projects are planned within the 10-Year Capital Plan.
Only 1 per cent of vehicle collisions involve somebody walking or rolling - but these account for nearly half of the deaths on our streets.
Both pedestrians and motorists have an essential role in safety. Fundamentally, each party should understand the BC Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) Rights of Way between vehicles and pedestrians, as explained in Section 8 of this webpage - Additional Information. Beyond these provincial laws, motorists and pedestrians are encouraged to follow best practices when interacting on a roadway. This includes being predictable, being visible, following the rules of the road, and acting in a manner that allows sufficient reaction time if another road user makes an error in judgment.
Please visit the ICBC Pedestrian Safety webpage for motorist and pedestrian safety strategies.
Crosswalks are important for creating a vibrant and walkable city. Safer pedestrian connections and diverse transportation options provide people with better access to the places they need to go. However, crosswalks are not the right solution for every location and do not always make the street safer.
Marked crosswalks are installed at warranted sites based on technical evaluation. They link pedestrian routes together at logical, predictable, and appropriately spaced locations. Site-specific safety measures and accessibility treatments are context-sensitive and part of the evaluation process.
Crosswalks are implemented throughout the city by a variety of mechanisms. Still, they all follow the same technical engineering evaluation process. Implementation can occur through the Crosswalk program, Safe Routes for Schools program, development off-site frontage improvements, subdivision development, or large-scale capital projects. Crosswalks that are part of developments or large-scale capital projects are determined through their particular project design. This webpage focuses on the process for evaluation and implementation of crosswalks through the Crosswalk and Safe Routes for Schools programs.
Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) Crosswalk Warrant Process
The City follows a standard engineering evaluation process to determine if new or additional crosswalk infrastructure is appropriate at a site. A primary component is the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) crosswalk warrant. The warrant is a national standard used by municipalities throughout Canada. Its purpose is to help determine what, or if, improvements are required.
Following the TAC crosswalk warrant process ensures optimal performance and safety for the overall transportation network and each crossing point. It provides an objective method to evaluate potential improvements.
About the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC):
The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) is the primary source for Canada's transportation and traffic engineering standards and guidelines. More information about the association can be found on the TAC Website.
TAC Crosswalk Warrant Potential Outcomes
There are two possible outcomes from the TAC crosswalk warrant. A site can be determined as:
- Warranted (a crosswalk or additional improvements may be considered) or;
- Unwarranted (a crosswalk or additional improvements are unsuitable/invalid)
If a site is deemed warranted, it may be a potential candidate for a crosswalk or additional improvements. It means that minimum thresholds and requirements have been achieved, and further investigation is justified. Additional engineering assessment is conducted prior to finalizing a decision regarding the pedestrian crossing control treatment. TAC recommends various levels of safety systems depending on site characteristics, data, and context.
If a site is deemed unwarranted, it is NOT a candidate for a crosswalk or additional improvements. On this note, TAC warns against indiscriminate use of crosswalks, installation at unwarranted sites, and avoiding the proliferation of unwarranted crosswalks:
"Without sufficient demand, or if installed in the wrong environment, traffic control devices [crosswalks] may be ineffective or even have negative consequences" (TAC Pedestrian Crossing Control Guide, 2018, p.35).
TAC also discourages the placement of crosswalks within close proximity of existing crossing infrastructure as it "can result in improper driver decisions which, in turn, may lead to collisions with pedestrians or other road users" (TAC Pedestrian Crossing Control Guide, 2018, p.37).
TAC Crosswalk Warrant Criteria and Data Collection
The TAC crosswalk warrant is comprised of numerous criteria and supporting data. The information considered includes surrounding land use context, vehicle and pedestrian volumes, traffic characteristics, speed data, pedestrian crossing distance, distance to existing traffic control, network connectivity, site geometry, and collision data. Within the warrant, minimum thresholds are provided and must be satisfied in order for a site to be warranted for new crossing infrastructure or additional improvements.
Traffic count data collection is performed through the Traffic Count program. It operates in the spring and fall to capture data representative of average conditions, per industry standard practice and Transportation Master Plan Policy 6.21.
Initial Vetting Process
The City understands that safe and convenient pedestrian crossing locations are a primary concern to residents throughout the city. The TAC crosswalk warrant helps prioritize sites with the greatest need so that limited resources can be distributed equitably and responsibly. Furthermore, due to the high volume of crosswalk requests it receives yearly, the Crosswalk program practices an initial vetting process so high-priority issues can be reviewed more promptly.
A crosswalk will NOT be considered at a site if any of the following applies:
- A crosswalk evaluation has been previously performed in the last 3 years.
- There is existing crossing control infrastructure within 200 m of the proposed site (this includes, but is not limited to, traffic signals, crosswalks, stop signs, and roundabouts).
- On low volume roads with less than an average of 1,500 vehicles per day (TAC crosswalk warrant threshold).
- There are less than an average of 15 pedestrians crossing per hour during peak hours (TAC crosswalk warrant threshold).
- Minimum stopping sight distance requirements are not achieved.
*Note: The preceding list is not exhaustive. A crosswalk may be deemed unwarranted for reasons outside of those provided above.
Additionally, a crosswalk or additional improvements may not be considered based on the following context-sensitive items:
- Limited or no benefit to the overall pedestrian network and community.
- Violation of city bylaws, provincial laws, or federal laws.
- Site conditions or geometry pose safety concerns that cannot be reasonably addressed.
- A future project is planned that includes crossing infrastructure or impacts the proposed site such that a crossing infrastructure is no longer warranted.
- Significant investment or safety treatment already exists.
Typically, crosswalk requests that pass the initial vetting process can take many months to review and process due to the high volume of requests received and the constrained timeframe available for data collection.
Once a potential crosswalk project is deemed warranted, it is added to the queue of warranted projects. The City uses information from the TAC crosswalk warrant, and policies from the Official Community Plan (OCP) and Transportation Master Plan (TMP), to determine project prioritization. Above all, we select those with the best value and greatest positive impact on the most people.
Each year, the City can receive over 100 crosswalk-related service requests from the public. At least 15 warranted crosswalk projects are typically queued for future installation on an ongoing basis. Based on current program funding, approximately 5-7 crosswalk projects are constructed annually dependent on the costs to achieve TAC safety and accessibility standards.
TMP and OCP Prioritization Guidance Examples
- "[Warranted] Crosswalks near schools, parks, and [public] bus stops will be prioritized" (TMP, 2022, p.34).
- "Ensure major streets in the Core Area include convenient and safe crossings for people walking, including near transit stops. In addition, consider the location of safe crossings when placing transit stops" (TMP Policy 1.9, 2022, p.48).
- "Incorporate equity into planning decisions and resource allocation in our community" (2040 Official Community Plan, 2022, Objective 9.1).
- "Using an equity-based approach will help the City target investments where they will have the biggest impact" (2040 Official Community Plan, 2022, Ch.9).
- "Prioritize infrastructure investment targeting high growth areas" (2040 Official Community Plan, 2022, Objective 13.1).
- "Strategically focusing investment in the Urban Centres and the Core Area will help to service more of the population while minimizing long-term maintenance and renewal costs" (2040 Official Community Plan, 2022, Objective 13.1.1).
About the Clean Air and Safe Routes for Schools Program:
The primary goal of the Clean Air and Safe Routes for Schools program is to make walking and biking to school safer. This is achieved through education and targeted infrastructure improvements at key locations for a comprehensive benefit. The program has dedicated resources that help the City prioritize the needs of participating schools, which otherwise may not be a priority through the standard city-wide programs. Recommendations from the Safe Routes for Schools program are included when selecting projects in other programs, such as the Crosswalk, and Sidewalk programs.
City infrastructure projects, including crosswalks, are typically planned at least a year in advance. This permits Council to review and approve project funding, maintains the transparent use of public funds, and facilitates the design process's completion. Project designs require review and must comply with relevant engineering standards, best practices, accessibility standards, bylaws, and provincial/federal laws. Project coordination, applicable permits, and approval by external agencies and internal departments are also often required.
The following section provides supporting information related to applicable laws and bylaws, active transportation safety, design standards, and other relevant programs.
Rules of the Road
- BC Motor Vehicle Act Part 3 - Information related to interactions between pedestrians, motorists, and the roadway:
- Marked and unmarked crosswalk definitions (Section 119)
- Meeting a school bus (Section 149)
- Rights of way between vehicle and pedestrian (Section 179)
- Crossing at other than a crosswalk (Section 180)
- Duty of a driver (Section 181)
- Pedestrians using highways (Section 182)
- Pedestrian controls and traffic signal (Sections 132 - 133)
- Stopping at intersections (Section 186)
- ICBC - Educational guides about the rules of the road and pedestrian safety:
- SD23 - School bus safety tips:
- City of Kelowna Bylaws - Numerous regulations within Traffic Bylaw 8120 govern how vehicles and pedestrians operate within city limits.
Engineering Design Standards
Below are examples of typical design standards and principles used for crosswalks and other active transportation infrastructure:
- BC Active Transportation Design Guide (BC ATDG)
- National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
- Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)
- Master Municipal Construction Documents (MMCD)
- Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCD)
- City Bylaw 7900
- CSA Accessible Design for the Built Environment
Supporting City Programs and Project Information
- Clean Air and Safe Routes for Schools
- Sidewalk Program
- Traffic Calming Program (in development)
- Current Capital Projects
The BC Motor Vehicle Act (BC MVA) identifies two types of crosswalks – marked (road markings and/or signs) and unmarked (no road markings).
- Marked Crosswalks
- BC MVA Crosswalk Definition: "(a) a portion of the roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs or by lines or other markings on the surface."
- Unmarked Crosswalks
BC MVA Crosswalk Definition: "(b) the portion of a highway at an intersection that is included within the connection of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on the opposite sides of the highway, or within the extension of the lateral lines of the sidewalk on one side of the highway, measured from the curbs, or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the roadway."
Marked crosswalks are simply referred to as crosswalks on this webpage. The standard crosswalk evaluation and TAC warrant process are used to determine when it is appropriate to install a marked crosswalk. Section 4 - Crosswalk Evaluation Process explains this further. More information about pedestrian, vehicle and roadway interactions can be found in Section 8 - Additional Information.
According to the BC Motor Vehicle Act (BC MVA), motorists are not required to yield to pedestrians waiting to enter a crosswalk unless directed by a traffic control device (e.g. traffic light) or peace officer (e.g. RCMP).
- Pedestrian-activated flashers (yellow flashing lights) do not constitute a regulatory traffic control device in the BC MVA. Flashers can increase the visibility of a pedestrian at a crosswalk, but the same rules apply whether or not flashers are present.
- Pedestrians are encouraged to make eye contact with drivers and ensure vehicles have come to a complete stop before proceeding into the roadway.
- According to TAC, the typical driver perception and reaction time is a minimum of 2.5 seconds. This can increase to 3-4.5 seconds in complex situations or when drivers are unalert (TAC Geometric Design Guide for Canadian Roads, 1999, p. 220.127.116.11).
Please see the BC MVA in Section 8 - Additional Information for further clarification on the rights of ways between vehicles and pedestrians and their responsibilities.
It's important to understand that parking restrictions are often in place for safety reasons. For example, parking restrictions at intersections or crosswalks are required to maintain adequate sightlines. Parking in a restricted parking space for any duration endangers pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists.
Please visit the Bylaw Services webpage to request bylaw enforcement for parking violations.
Crosswalks are NOT an appropriate measure for traffic calming.
Crosswalks can be an important part of making neighbourhoods more walkable. However, using them to control speeding on their own is unlikely to succeed. It may also put people walking or rolling at greater risk. Overall, using vulnerable road users to slow down traffic is a poor option that could have detrimental consequences. Therefore, the City follows TAC standards and City policies and does not install crosswalks for the purpose of speed reduction.
Pedestrian-activated flashers can be a valuable tool when installed at warranted/appropriate locations (based on the TAC crosswalk warrant). Flashers are the most commonly requested type of crossing treatment we receive. Unfortunately, their cost can be substantial, limiting their installation to a small number of locations per year. The TAC Pedestrian Crossing Control Guide provides minimum threshold criteria for implementing flashers, realizing installing them at every site is not feasible or necessary.
The City follows policy guidance and TAC recommendations to maximize the value of flashers and address the sites most in need. Locations are carefully selected using an objective, equitable, and cost-efficient decision-making basis.
It should be noted that poor driver behaviour can still be experienced at sites with flashers, overhead flashers, half-signals, and traffic signals. Ultimately, these devices may help increase the visibility of pedestrians at a crossing; however, there is no at-grade treatment that is 100 per cent safe. Flashers may help mitigate risk but should not be expected to eliminate issues entirely.
The TAC Pedestrian Crossing Control Guide provides thresholds for certain levels of crosswalk safety treatment depending on the context. For example, a busy multi-lane road will likely require additional safety measures than quieter streets. It is important to note that sites with existing safety improvements may not require further investment. Doing so may have limited to no benefit and prevents improvements from being installed in other areas of need around the city.