Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω
There’s a sign right there: $121 fine. He looked both ways and took a chance, but it was the most expensive chance he took all day.
Despite checking for police that might be watching him cross Summit Drive on Tuesday, Feroz Shah still ended up paying the price for jaywalking across Summit Drive, a fine he said he really isn’t looking forward to paying. But the next day he was jaywalking again.
Cpl. Brian O’Callaghan said Kamloops RCMP issued 52 violations and four warnings to people illegally crossing Summit Drive last week. They were monitoring the road on Nov. 12 and again on Nov. 14, but not everyone thinks enforcement will make a difference.
Luke Marchal got lucky, only managing a warning ticket when he crossed Summit to Dalgleish Drive on Tuesday. He said he doesn’t think the unfortunate ones who did get fined will change their habits, and neither will he. Illegally crossing Summit cuts his commute in half from 20 minutes to ten. He timed the legal route on Friday.
“Next week I’ll probably be jaywalking again,” he said.
After being warned, Mike Howard chose not to jaywalk, but he agrees with Marchal that last week’s enforcement is only a temporary deterrent and the wrong approach.
“It’s not just because it sucks to get the fine, it’s because it doesn’t solve the problem,” he said.
“If they have an issue with people crossing the street there they have to come up with a solution that makes it so no one will do it.”
Howard and Marchal live on Dalgleish Drive, but said many students who don’t live there park on the street to avoid fighting for a parking spot and paying the increased rates on campus. They often illegally cross Summit with groups of up to 20 people, Marchal said. Because they cross between two sets of traffic lights they said it’s not difficult to get a 45-second gap and easily walk across the street.
“If you wait for a break in traffic you could army crawl across there,” Howard said, adding that there are a lot of students who aren’t being smart and waiting for that break, however.
Cpl. Cheryl Bush said Summit Drive is just one street that has been identified as a problem area for which motorist complaints are a contributing factor. Not only is Summit Drive a downhill slope and a multi-lane street, it’s also a designated truck route. With the change in season, longer dark hours and slippery roads, she said the risk goes up and the RCMP work hard in the fall to get the message out.
Because there is posted signage indicating no pedestrians can cross outside of the crosswalks on Summit Drive, the offence is actually a violation of the Motor Vehicle Act for disobeying a control device, not jaywalking, which is a city bylaw.
“This is a blatant disobey of a control device as a pedestrian,” Bush said.
Health and safety manager, Stacey Jyrkkanen agrees that pedestrians crossing Summit are a hazard, but she wants students to know that TRU did not ask the RCMP to come onto campus and issue these violations. She said she was concerned about the perception of RCMP coming onto TRU property and ticketing TRU students, but the safety issue being addressed is more important.
“We did not ask the police to come up and do that. Definitely not,” she said.
Jyrkkanen said the jaywalking problem is not a new one and she doesn’t think enforcement deters students from doing it.
“Until such time that we get something like an overpass, I don’t see it changing,” she said.
An overpass connecting the Dalgleish Drive area with TRU is proposed in both the Campus Master Plan and the Pedestrian Master Plan for the City of Kamloops from March 2013. An overpass over Summit Drive is proposed in conjunction with bicycle network improvements at a cost of $5.5 million. The city report indicates pedestrian demand for the overpass is high.
Although Howard and Marchal don’t think crossing Summit is dangerous if you’re smart about it, they would like to see a permanent solution and believe a controlled crosswalk would suffice.
“There will always be idiots, so build us a crosswalk,” Marchal said. “This would be used consistently all day, every day of the week.”
The “Speed Watch” observation team also worked last week to educate motorists of speed limits on campus and make them aware of their own speeds. Last year’s campaign found 47 per cent of 330 drivers at TRU’s east gate were going over the posted speed limit.
Crime prevention coordinators were also out this week promoting the “Get Your Glow On” campaign, which encourages pedestrians to wear reflective gear or anything that will make them more visible to motorists during dark hours.
“At the end of the day, we just want staff and students to go home safe and we want them to get here safe,” Jyrkkanen said.