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Crosswalk safety ads are a dud

Global TV's PSAs put all the onus on pedestrians, none of motorists

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Global TV is airing a pair of public service ads that purport to educate people on how to increase crosswalk safety. The ads, which are lame even by community PSA standards, tell us that there are two “teams” in the game of crossing the street---motorists and pedestrians. But both ads are aimed at only the pedestrian team, which is told to stay between the white lines and for some inexplicable reason to stick their hands out in front of them while crossing the street.

The two recent crosswalk deaths in Dartmouth were caused by motorists breaking the law and plowing over innocent pedestrians legally and sensibly crossing at marked crosswalks, but the Global ads don’t have any suggestions for how the motorist team can increase crosswalk safety---by like, ya know, stopping at the damn crosswalks. It’s all on pedestrians.

Last year’s Crosswalk Safety Task Force, a body made up primarily of traffic engineers, came to a similar conclusion: the way to make crosswalks safer is to make it harder for pedestrians to cross the street. The task force insisted on the installation of the push-button-required crossing lights popping up around Halifax, and they got pedestrian-related laws amended such that for the first time since the invention of the automobile, the right-of-way is given to cars, not pedestrians.

The Global ads are also a recommendation of the task force and cost taxpayers $19,500, which was split between the province and city, says Cathy MacIsaac, spokesperson with the Department of Transportation. MacIsaac seems embarrassed by the ads, and quickly relays that they’re “old ads designed by HRM...we’ll have new ones out in the fall, for both pedestrians and motorists.” I can’t wait.

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