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Student hit by vehicle offers crosswalk ideas
Student Crosswalk Safety
A student who was struck by a vehicle earlier this month in this crosswalk on Harris Trail near Richmond Hill High School told the Richmond Hill City Council his ideas for making it safer. - photo by Ted O'Neil

J.C. Balio, a student at Richmond Hill High School, was struck by a vehicle the morning of Oct. 3 while crossing Harris Trail on his way to class.

Rather than ignore the incident, he researched crosswalk safety devices and presented his findings to the Richmond Hill City Council Tuesday night.

“It was about 6:45 a.m. and before the crossing guard arrived,” he said of his ordeal. “The vehicle didn’t stop and allow me to cross.”

The incident occurred at the crosswalk on Harris Trail at Casey Drive across from the high school’s west campus. Richmond Hill police reported that day that Balio was struck in the foot after he slipped trying to stop in the roadway.

Balio told the council he searched online and found a company called Lane Light that sells a solar-powered sign and light system known as a “Rapid Flashing Crosswalk System.” The traditional yellow crosswalk signs include arrows pointing to the crosswalk and 7-inch by 3-inch flashing yellow lights. The company’s website says the system has up to a 99 percent higher rate of motorist compliance.

“At the least signs saying drivers must yield to pedestrians would be a good idea,” Balio said.

City Manager Chris Lovell said the city is currently looking at pricing for putting reflective paint on the crosswalk and plans to remove a second crosswalk on Harris Trail near Osprey Drive. Lovell also said the city would look at some sort of signage and lighting for the crosswalk during upcoming budget discussions.

The council thanked Balio for taking such initiative.

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