Motorists aren’t always stopping at a crosswalk in South Surrey

 The activated flashing crosswalk along Martin Drive and Southmere Crescent East.

The Activated Flashing Crosswalk along Martin Drive and Southmere Crescent East.

Pedestrians may have the right-of-way, but that doesn’t seem to apply to a crosswalk in South Surrey.

The frequently-used crosswalk, located near the Somerset Gardens residency, is a concern for some local residents. When a pedestrian presses a button by the crosswalk, they activate flashing yellow lights, which are supposed to alert motorists that pedestrians are crossing.

The problem is that drivers don’t stop and some local residents don’t feel the crosswalk is safe.

“Although pedestrians have the right-of-way, knowing the way people drive, no one stops for pedestrians at any standard crosswalk,” said Ken Lee, City of Surrey crosswalk engineer. “Only 25 per cent of drivers stop.”

The issue may be that motorists are too impatient to wait for the pedestrians to cross.

“A lot of the time, people just want to [zip] by,” resident Sue Pontin said.

Some wonder if the layout of the activated crosswalk may have something to do with the problem of crossing in that location.

“It’s not safe when pedestrians cross, because they can’t see if the light is flashing above them. The car may not see the person, just the light flashing,” said RCMP South Surrey District Officer, Elsie Vose. There are also low flashing lights on both sides of the crosswalk to alert drivers, but the signage may not be enough to make the pedestrians seen.

Pedestrians have discovered they should always use caution when crossing at this crosswalk. ICBC states that people should never wear their headphones, text or do anything that keeps their attention away when they cross the street. A pedestrian should always look in both directions and make eye contact with motorists before crossing. A driver may not have see them attempting to cross, so they need to use a lot of caution.

Pontin makes sure that she looks in both directions when she wants to cross. “I turn to my left and my right,” she said.

Lee also said that it’s up to the driver and pedestrian to make eye contact before crossing. Even though pedestrians have the right-of-way when they cross, the  flashing yellow lights for a flashing activated crosswalk only indicate that someone is ready to cross. “It just indicates that someone is ready to cross, that’s all it does,” he said.

Motorists need to keep in mind that there is a $167 fine for failing to yield to pedestrians.

The City of Surrey is planning to put together a brochure to educate the public on crossing more attentively. For now, all pedestrians can do is to be alert.

Daniella Javier

Journalism student. I go by this motto: "Find a career you love and never work a day in your life!" I want to make sure that I follow my dreams, no matter what they may be. I've dreamt of becoming a journalist since I was 10 years-old, so I might as well make it count!


  • Avatar
    Reply October 4, 2014

    Lesley Salazar Ayquipa

    Great story! I think the fact that motorists aren’t stopping at crosswalks is a growing problem. From the picture, I don’t find it safe at all and maybe it has to do with the design of the crosswalk lights. I also think many people are aware of not listening to headphones or texting when crossing but they still do it. That said, educating the public is always beneficial but i would also try to see if signs of the fine $167 gets motorists to stop.

  • […] Motorists aren’t always stopping at a crosswalk in South Surrey […]

  • Avatar
    Reply October 9, 2014

    Mercedes Dean

    wow your really good at news articles man! I’m glad I don’t live is South Surrey at this cross walk. Its interesting that vehicles are not stopping at the stop signs. I’ve always thought of South Surrey and Langley to be really safe when it comes to these types of things, but now I will have to makes sure that I check both ways before I cross, or as the article suggested, make eye contact. I wonder what this article, or the next article, would look like if you looked into how many people jwalk and what that means for people who are driving.

  • Daniella Javier
    Reply October 9, 2014

    Daniella Javier

    Thanks Mercedes! I just try my best 🙂

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.