FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — City Council has directed staff to continue reviewing high-risk intersections identified in a 2011 study, as well as rework a radar sign board sponsorship agreement so that the City can replace the signs if there isn’t a sponsor available, the cost of which would be $6,000 out of the operating budget.
The move comes after Councillor Byron Stewart brought to council’s attention concerns from president of Ecole Central’s PAC, Sarah Parsons in November 2015. Parsons addressed the issues with drivers speeding through Centrals school zones, which she believed was partially caused by hidden school-zone signage.
According to an administration report to Council, city staff receive several requests every year from citizens wanting flashing red lights installed at different intersections in the City.
Staff has reviewed each intersection to determine how valid the concern is, but have routinely been referring back to the Opus International Traffic Study — which identified the top 30 high risk collision intersections in the City. The intersection with the highest risk, according to the study, is Alaska Highway and 100 Avenue — on the west side of town beside the Pomeroy Hotel.
These improvements have included the installation of full traffic signals, installation of left turn arrows at many intersections, overhead pedestrian controlled signals, larger stop signs at some intersections and flashing red lights at a few.
In May 2011, Council received a letter from David Ergang with Koda Transport, requesting for Council to consider installing radar sign boards at school and playground zones in the City.
“I believe a step in the right direction is for various companies in Ft St John to sponsor Radar Board Signs,” Ergang wrote, adding that he had spoken to companies willing to foot the bill of the boards — about $10,000 per board.
Later that year, in June, Council drafted a radar sign sponsorship agreement. The template identified the details of the sponsorship, and who would be sponsoring.
In January 2012, Ergang donated $10,000 and signed the sponsorship agreement with the City for three signs — and nearly three years afterwards, Shell Canada also contacted the City in late December of 2014. They later donated two radar sign boards in January 2015.
Currently, in Fort St. John, there are four intersections where red flashing lights are installed, and seven radar signs — all of which are at schools. They are placed on this map, along with the top-3o high risk intersections in the City.
There are only two schools within City limits that do not have a radar speed board: Ecole Central Elementary and Christian Life School.
The City says there have been no further sponsorships since the first five boards were installed, but it was mentioned in the report that staff could contact Ecole Central and discuss a sponsorship opportunity with them for the sign.
” If funds were received for two more radar speed boards, there would be one sign located at all of the schools in Fort St. John,” the report reads.
“With the new school being built, there will be requests for radar sign boards around this school as well.”
Two original signs the City bought have both failed since being installed and been replaced. One is still located by Duncan Cran School, and the one that had been on 92A Street by Matthew’s Park has been moved to 114A Avenue by Bert Ambrose School.
A sponsored board on 93 Street near Kin Park has stopped working, but City staff says it hasn’t been replaced.