White Rock city staff members received the heartfelt thanks of a legally blind senior last week as the sounds of audible crosswalks chirped and beeped at the busy intersection of Russell Avenue and Johnston Road.
“Will you listen to that beautiful music?” exclaimed Marie-Claire Letnick, 84, as she crossed Johnston Road Tuesday to meet with operations manager Paul Slack, joined by municipal engineering director Rob Thompson and engineering technologist Ken Hanna.
“I’m almost crying,” she said, as she thanked them for the retrofitting of the crosswalk signals, which came as a result of her appeal published in Peace Arch News Aug. 11.
The feisty senior retains a large measure of mobility, even though she suffers from macular degeneration that has robbed her of large patches of her sight.
The new signals will make her feel safer as she shops in her favourite area of uptown White Rock, she said after testing the new signals, which are controlled with enlarged arrow-pointer buttons, and emit different sounds for the north-south and east-west crossings.
Thompson said city staff were happy to respond quickly to something that promotes mobility and safety, particularly for seniors. He noted the signals are also sensitive to ambient noise, which means they are louder during peak traffic periods and quieter for nearby residents in the evenings.
“You’ve started something,” he told Letnick. “I think we’re going to be hearing from a lot of other people. What started with you will spread all over the city.”