Traffic Signals and Pedestrian Crossovers
York Region manages and maintains approximately 900 traffic signals. A centralized traffic control system assists in identifying problems and can monitor the traffic signals, helping to identify issues.
Pedestrian crossovers are a new type of traffic control on Regional roads with the first installations in fall 2021.
Pedestrian Signals and Push Buttons
Pedestrian push buttons are located at signalized intersection, and when activated provides pedestrian displays to serve pedestrians to cross the intersection.
It is important to note that pedestrians must press the pedestrian walk button to activate the pedestrian signal and to ensure adequate crossing time.
Pedestrians should observe and obey the pedestrian signals provided, and not the signals provided for motorists. The “Walk” signal will be displayed for 7 seconds, followed by the flashing hand/countdown or Pedestrian Clearance phase. The flashing hand/countdown provides adequate time to finish crossing the intersection.
The countdown shows the pedestrian how much time left to cross the street.
The pedestrian signal provides the legal right for pedestrians to cross an intersection. However, you should still be cautious when crossing at signalized intersections and follow these suggestions::
- Cross intersections defensively
- Begin crossing as soon you see the walk indication
- Do not start crossing if you are facing flashing hand and/or countdown display or solid hand display
- When crossing the street, cross as quickly as possible. Minimize your time in the roadway
- Always watch for turning vehicles. You have the legal right to be there, but some motorists may not see you
- Wear bright clothing – Be Visible. Be Seen.
Audible Pedestrian Signals are linked to the visual pedestrian displays and advise the blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind:
- When they have the right-of-way to cross the street
- The direction they may cross the intersection
Two audible tones are used to indicate the direction of the pedestrian right of way:
- A cuckoo sound (accompanied by the walking person display) indicates that the pedestrian has the right of way in the north/south direction
- A chirp sound (accompanied by the walking person display) indicates that the pedestrian has the right-of-way in the east/west direction
The pedestrian push button must be pushed and held for at least three seconds to activate the audible tones. If the button is not held down for at least three seconds, the audible tone will not be activated even though the walking person display appears.
Traffic Signal Installations and Requests
There are more than 2,000 intersections and nearly 900 traffic signals on Regional roads today. Adding a new traffic signal impacts a large transportation network and millions of travellers making important connections.
Traffic studies, data collection and analysis determine what type of traffic control will meet the unique requirements of an intersection and the community. Traffic signals, an all-way stop, roundabout or other safety measures may be implemented based on traffic volume, pedestrian and cyclist activity, sight lines, surrounding environment and collision history.
Most often, traffic signals are installed at the Region’s highly travelled intersections to manage heavier traffic by assigning the right-of-way to motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and public transit. Traffic signals may also be installed to address sight lines or other special conditions.
York Region follows the engineering guidelines in Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, Ontario Traffic Manual Book 12. This technical manual applies best practices and consistency across Ontario municipalities. Installing a traffic signal in a location that does not align with engineering guidelines can decrease safety, cause delays or cut-through traffic and block accesses.
Traffic signal installations include the following steps:
- Traffic studies, data collection and policy review
- Documentation, approvals and budgeting
- Traffic signal design
All traffic signals are designed to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a list to show where traffic signals are being installed?
Traffic signal installations are capital construction projects and listed by municipality on the Road Construction Schedule page.
How do I request traffic signals or other traffic control measures?
A request can be made by sending an email to @email or by using York Region’s mobile app, available for Apple, Android and Blackberry devices. Traffic studies can take up to eight weeks to complete. All requests are assigned a ticket number for tracking purposes.
How long does it take for traffic signals to be installed?
In most cases, traffic signals are operational within two to three years from the time the traffic study confirms the installation.
Travellers will start to see new types of pedestrian crossings at select Regional road locations. The crossings, called pedestrian crossovers, are a type of traffic control in the Highway Traffic Act. They have specific signs and pavement markings, and some have push buttons and flashing lights.
Pedestrian crossovers provide pedestrians with crossing opportunities where there is demand and the location does not meet the provincial criteria for traffic signals. To be eligible for a pedestrian crossover the location must have a speed limit of 60km/hour or lower, have lower traffic volume and no more than four lanes.
Drivers are legally required to stop for pedestrians at all pedestrian crossovers. Drivers must also wait until pedestrians have fully crossed the pedestrian crossover (PXO) before proceeding.
For added safety, pedestrians are reminded to make eye contact with drivers and look both ways before crossing.
New Pedestrian Crossover in Holland Landing
What will the pedestrian crossovers look like?
There are four types of pedestrian crossovers in the Highway Traffic Act with various levels of features. York Region installed two types, enhanced and standard features.
Image below: Pedestrian crossover with enhanced features
Includes: Flashing beacons, overhead and side-mounted signs, advance warning signs, enhanced pavement markings, pedestrian push buttons and tactile plates
Image below: Pedestrian crossover with standard features
Includes: Includes: Side-mounted signs, enhanced pavement markings and advance warning signs
Where have pedestrian crossovers been installed?
- Yonge Street at Holland Landing Community Centre, Town of East Gwillimbury – Enhanced features
- Highway 27 and Highway 7, City of Vaughan – Standard features on the southeast corner
- Islington Avenue and Rutherford Road, City of Vaughan – Standard features on the southeast and northwest corners
- Major Mackenzie Drive and Bathurst Street, City of Richmond Hill/City of Vaughan – Standard features on the southeast, southwest and northwest corners
- Ninth Line at Elm Street, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville – Enhanced features
- Baseline Road, 640 metres west of Dalton Road, Town of Georgina – Enhanced features
What are the penalties for noncompliance?
All drivers and cyclists are legally required to stop to allow pedestrians to completely cross at a pedestrian crossover. To alert drivers, pedestrian crossovers have signs and pavement marking, and some have flashing lights.
Under the Highway Traffic Act, failing to yield at pedestrian crossovers carries a fine of up to $1,000 and four demerit points. For information on offences, visit the MTO website or search the Highway Traffic Act.
Where can I find more information?
This report to York Regional Council dated April 8, 2021 contains information about legislation and background on the Region’s decision to install pedestrian crossovers.
More information about pedestrian crossovers is available at mto.gov.on.ca. Click here to view Ontario Traffic Manual Book 15- Pedestrian Crossing Treatments
To share feedback or request further information, please send an email to [email protected] or call 1-877-464-9675.