Lighting up Tsawwassen to improve ambience and pedestrian safety

Although the bright twinkling lights of Christmas are in the rear view mirror, the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association (TBIA) is interested in spreading the light year round.

For the past 23 years, the TBIA has carried on the seasonal tradition of hanging more than 50,000 LED lights around Tsawwassen's busiest areas. The initiative represents over 14 per cent of the annual operating budget of the TBIA.

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Not only does it enhance the visual appeal of the town, it contributes to pedestrian safety by making roads and sidewalks more visible in the darkness.

TBIA executive director Lydia Elder says the organization’s board of directors has long been discussing ways to support the work of the City of Delta and the Delta Police Department in enhancing pedestrian safety through environmental design.

“We want to encourage people to get out of their vehicles and spend time walking around Tsawwassen,” says Elder. “And we want them to feel safe and comfortable while they're outside, whether they're walking, cycling, using scooters, strollers or wheelchairs.”

The TBIA is proposing the installation of bright, warm white LED lights in the town's commercial core to increase pedestrian safety and encourage foot traffic in the hours after the sun has gone to bed.

Elder says she approached Const. Leisa Schaefer at the Tsawwassen Community Police Station to see about collaborating on the project.

“Leisa and I started working on a plan about in which order and locations we should be installing the lights,” says Elder, adding the two agreed to focus on areas with the highest traffic and pedestrian risk first.

For the past two years, the TBIA has been testing the effectiveness of installing white lights, first with two trees in 2017, and this year on nine trees. Feedback has been positive, both from residents and police.

“Delta police have worked hard over the past few years to reduce the number of pedestrian collisions along our busy corridors in Tsawwassen, running awareness campaigns, conducting enforcement and working with our city engineering department on improvements,” says Chief Neil Dubord. “The Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association’s efforts to light trees at busy pedestrian crossing areas definitely improves visibility in the area with the added benefit that it looks good as well.”

Elder says she's now in conversations with property and business owners, as well as the City of Delta's engineering department, to work through next steps in installing more permanent lights.

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