By: Alex MacBain
I believe it is time to change the pattern of the traffic signals at the intersection of University Avenue and Browns Court. I have witnessed far too many long lines, close calls between cars, and awkward stand-offs between drivers and pedestrians. In my experience, this can be attributed to two phenomena.
Firstly, when the line of cars gets long, it is usually due to a large amount of classes ending at the same time, usually around 12:30 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday; or around 12:00 on Tuesday or Thursday. This marks the changeover between ‘morning’ classes and ‘afternoon’ classes. I have seen this line wrap around the corner behind the Chi-Wan Young center.
Typically, one can also see an opposing line of cars coming from Brown’s Court into the University. The green light at this intersection (obviously) means that those going straight have the right-of-way, and those turning left either out of Brown’s Court or the university are left to wait. This can cause long, frustrating waits for drivers.
The second reason is the number of pedestrians. One of the basic rules of the road is that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. People in automobiles must respect those on foot. The green lights when crossing University Avenue allow for pedestrians to cross both sides of the road simultaneously, meaning drivers who want to make a turn either left or right have to wait.
The minor issue here is driver frustration. The major issue is pedestrian safety. It is sometimes difficult to see pedestrians before they step into the road. This is especially bad at night, as the intersection is relatively poorly lit, and is even worse in winter when snow banks pile up between drivers and corners of the intersection.
What I propose is a revision of the traffic light pattern. As it stands, the traffic indicators across University Avenue do not have a turn signal. There are four lights in the indicators: two red lights, an amber light, and a green light.
What we need is a green arrow added onto these indicators. This way, we can have a pattern similar to the intersection of Capital Drive and North River Road. Along Capital Drive, the pattern is the same as along University Avenue (they both use sensors to activate a green turn signal).
Along Lower Malpeque Road/North River Road travelling in either direction, there is a green light and a turn signal, so that all traffic going straight (North) or turning left (West) can go through the intersection, then all traffic going straight (South) or turning left (East) can go through the intersection.
This design also allows for pedestrians from local businesses to safely cross the intersection without having to worry about left-turning vehicles because the safe crossing signal does not allow people to cross until the left-turning signal halts the turning vehicles.
Mirroring this intersection at the intersection of Brown’s Court and University Avenue would offer a solution to both of the aforementioned problems: line-ups of cars will have enough time to clear out, and pedestrians would be safe to cross one side of the road at a time.
If we bring this to the attention of Greg Clayton, the Director of Facilities Management, I believe that we can make a change and make the University of Prince Edward Island a safer place.