More right-of-ways for pedestrians in city

Pedestrians in Ottawa will soon have the right of way at more locations, now that the provincial government is loosening its reins.

Currently, pedestrian priority happens at a stop sign, traffic light, a pedestrian crossing and where a crossing guard is present.

But, after six months of talks with the province, the city's city traffic operations manager Phil Landry explained on Wednesday that will change by the fall.

"Because right now, we can't just go out and put a sign, like you can in Quebec or in British Columbia or Alberta, that allows pedestrians to have priority." There will be changes to certain regulation of the Highway Traffic Act to give the city more flexibility. The new white signs with a black silhouette of a pedestrian, and the extra autonomy, are being welcomed by Innes ward Councillor Rainer Bloess.

"This is way overdue," he said. "In the sense of having mid-block crossings, that are clearly marked, we haven't allowed that in Ontario. And I think what we're seeing is you know, there are parks that are in the middle of the block, where people don't want to have to walk all the way down the street to a stop sign or a traffic light and cross over."

However, Bloess admitted that pedestrians will also have priority for crossing at roundabouts, where the signs are present, and that will take some getting used to.

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