Outremont tests out trompe l’oeil, 3D crosswalk to force caution in drivers

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CTV Montreal

Published Tuesday, July 10, 2018 5:15PM EDT

Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2018 7:27PM EDT

It’s a Canadian first: a concrete-painted optical illusion, “3D crosswalks,” is being tested out in Outremont.

It’s designed to get a driver’s attention, and try to make streets safer.

Public workers are putting the finishing touches on the crosswalk at the corner of Bernard and Champagneur Avenues.

When it’s completed, the crosswalk will look like it’s “jumping” at drivers approaching in their vehicles.

“It’ll make drivers pause a second and think ‘oh, let me slow down a second – what is this new marking?” Outremont Borough Councillor Mindy Pollak said.

Two crosswalks in the area will be painted this way as part of a pilot project aiming to increase pedestrian safety, decrease the number of accidents, increase visibility of crosswalks, and slow down drivers, Pollak explained.

Although the project is new for Montreal, it’s been tried elsewhere – like Iceland, for example.

There’s not much hard evidence to show they actually work. A Master’s thesis from Western Michigan University found that 3D illusions didn’t significantly improve safety.

But it seems that Outremont and many of its residents are keen to give it a try.

“It’s a dangerous corner,” one resident said. “People don’t usually make the stop. Some people are not used to the neighbourhood, so sometimes they don’t make their stop or they’re in a rush.”

The intersection, Pollak said, as been the site of some severe pedestrian accidents over the past few years.

The borough of Outremont says it will examine the effects of the pilot project down the road, and also look into potentially expanding it.

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