Council looks to high-vis cross walks as part of town revitalization plan

Replacing standard cross walks along South Shore Road with high visibility and durability, and wider than normal crosswalk:$4,000

At their Aug. 7 meeting, mayor and council discussed the option of replacing standard cross walks along South Shore Road with high visibility, high durability, cross walks.

Coun. Tim McGonigle gave a report to council regarding a trip he and superintendent of Public Works and Engineering Services, Nagi Rizk, had taken down to Victoria to witness the final application of such a cross walk, as well as his thoughts on the product.

The information provided by McGonigle shows that these cross walks, called heavy-duty stamped cross walks and traffic calming surfaces, is a TrafficPatternsXD product provided by Square One Paving in Victoria.

The promotional information provided by Square One Paving states that TrafficPatternsXD “is an extremely durable preformed thermoplastic material that incorporates a unique aggregate-reinforced formula with unprecedented wear resistance. The result is a traffic-tough crosswalk that provides brick-like aesthetics built to last.”

“It is for high visibility areas, mostly for high visibility cross walks,” said McGonigle. “The superintendent and myself discussed the possible application of this in our town improvements. That application is more expensive than the regular application.”

McGonigle reported that the crosswalk he and Rizk witnessed the installation of, in Bastion Square, is a wider than normal crosswalk. The total cost for this crosswalk was approximately $4,000.

McGonigle suggested looking into the experience Kelowna has had with this same product to see how viable it was and to consider any problems the city may have had with it.

The folks who developed TrafficPatternsXD are from Kelowna — the company is called Hub Surface Systems. A quick perusal of their website shows that they have been developing this product for quite some time, and have had to work out some kinks along the way.

“The desire for attractive crosswalks within urban streetscape redevelopments coupled with the logic of treating the existing road surface rather than messily and expensively introducing different material such as pavers into it, drove the developers of stamped decorative asphalt to new heights in their quest to build a better crosswalk. That’s when they started playing with thermoplastic,” states the Hub Surface Systems website. “What they ended up with was no ordinary road marking kind of thermoplastic but one much thicker with very fortified properties including reinforcement with aggregate. It is a material built very much like asphalt actually; graded aggregate with  specialized thermostatic rather than heavy oils. In a nutshell the road surface is prepared, preformed thermoplastic panels laid and the surface, melted onto it and finally stamped to give it texture and a most attractive finish.”

“I was very impressed. It was a good day and it was interesting to watch the final application,” said McGonigle. He noted that the roundabout on King George Street is a similar product. He then turned the discussion over to the rest of the table.

“We really need crosswalks in this town that define the crosswalk. There isn’t a single time that we go for a walk that cars don’t go straight through the crosswalk,” said Mayor Ross Forrest, referring to going for walks around town with his wife. “It’s scary, it really is.”

He went on to say that if the product does last twice as long as conventional crosswalk marking, then it would pay for itself in the long run and that it is worth looking into.

The final decision would be with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, stated McGonigle.

“Having said that, with some of the improvements we are doing to decrease the pavement, perhaps some of that funding could be forwarded to one or two of these.”

“At this point we don’t have all the facts of the finances,” said Rizk. “We do know that the price is three to four times of stamping the roundabout.”

Council decided that they and town staff would investigate the possibility of this product further.