Mixed Pedestrian Controls at Intersections

I'm wondering what the law in BC is for pedestrians on the axis of an intersection that has no pedestrian control lights. An example in Vancouver would be Main Street at 10th Avenue. There are vehicle control lights on the North-South axis and pedestrian control lights on the East-West axis, but not on the North-South axis. The only vehicle controls on the East-West axis are Stop signs for cars on 10th entering Main. Many drivers treat the Stop signs as not applying when the traffic lights on Main are red. I know they're in the wrong. But what about pedestrians crossing North-South or South-North in front of these Stop signs? They have no "Walk-Don't Walk" signal. Is the default they are free to cross unless a traffic signal directs otherwise?

Good Question!

Here is the intersection from the example:

As you can see, there is a mix of traffic signals, stop signs and pedestrian lights.

Here are the relevant sections of the Motor Vehicle Act that deal with this situation:

Pedestrian controls

132 (1) When the word "walk" or an outline of a walking person is exhibited at an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal, a pedestrian may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal in a marked or unmarked crosswalk and has the right of way over all vehicles in the intersection or any adjacent crosswalk.

(2) When the word "walk" or an outline of a walking person is exhibited at a place other than an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal, a pedestrian may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and has the right of way over all vehicles.

(3) When the word "wait", the words "don't walk" or an outline of a raised hand are exhibited at an intersection or at a place other than an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal,

(a) a pedestrian must not enter the roadway, and

(b) a pedestrian proceeding across the roadway and facing the word "wait", the words "don't walk", or an outline of a raised hand exhibited after he or she entered the roadway

(i) must proceed to the sidewalk as quickly as possible, and

(ii) has the right of way for that purpose over all vehicles.

Pedestrian controlled signal

133 Where a pedestrian is instructed or permitted by a traffic control signal to enter or to proceed across a roadway, he or she must do so

(a) at an intersection, only in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, and

(b) at a place other than an intersection, in the vicinity of which there is a marked crosswalk, only in the crosswalk.

Red Light

129(4) When a red light alone is exhibited at an intersection by a traffic control signal,

(a) a pedestrian facing the red light must not enter the roadway unless instructed that he or she may do so by a pedestrian traffic control signal,

(b) except when a left turn permitted by this paragraph is prohibited by a sign at the intersection, the driver of a vehicle facing the red light at the intersection of not more than 2 highways, and which in obedience to it is stopped as closely as practicable to a marked crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if there is no marked crosswalk, as closely as practicable to the intersection, may cause the vehicle to make a left turn into a highway on which traffic is restricted to the direction in which he or she causes the vehicle to turn, but the driver must yield the right of way to all pedestrians and vehicles lawfully proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection, and

(c) a pedestrian proceeding across the roadway and facing the red light exhibited after he or she entered the roadway

(i) must proceed to the sidewalk as quickly as possible, and

(ii) has the right of way for that purpose over all vehicles.

Rights of way between vehicle and pedestrian

179 (1) Subject to section 180, the driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian where traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation when the pedestrian is crossing the highway in a crosswalk and the pedestrian is on the half of the highway on which the vehicle is travelling, or is approaching so closely from the other half of the highway that he or she is in danger.

(2) A pedestrian must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way.

(3) If a vehicle is slowing down or stopped at a crosswalk or at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the highway, the driver of a vehicle approaching from the rear must not overtake and pass the vehicle that is slowing down or stopped.

(4) A pedestrian, cyclist or the driver of a motor vehicle must obey the instructions of an adult school crossing guard and of a school student acting as a member of a traffic patrol where the guards or students are

(a) provided under the School Act,

(b) authorized by the chief of police of the municipality as defined in section 36 (1), or

(c) if located on treaty lands, authorized by the chief of the police force responsible for policing the treaty lands.

Crossing at other than crosswalk

180 When a pedestrian is crossing a highway at a point not in a crosswalk, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to a vehicle.

In short, if there are no controls in place, the pedestrian makes sure that it is safe to use the crosswalk by yielding to closely approaching traffic and then traffic must stop and allow them to cross in the crosswalk.

If there are traffic signals only, then the pedestrian follows the directions of the traffic signals.

If there are pedestrian signals, alone or in combination with traffic signals, the pedestrian follows the directions of the pedestrian control signals.

Could you expand?

Could you give an answer that is more clear? It was a yes or no question. Do pedestrians crossing north-south in front of these stop signs have right of way or not?

It's not clear from the response which situation, if any, this case aligns with. Does this qualify as a "red light alone" situation when there's a stop sign? Personally, I'd already read these sections of the MVA regarding this issue, but looked further because I didn't find it clear. 

I was taught by my driving instructor that pedestrians crossing in front of a stop sign always have right of way, and a stop sign *always* means stop until pedestrians have passed, independent of whether perpendicular traffic is stopped by a red light. Was I taught incorrectly?

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