Well, at the last West Hants committee of the whole (March 27, 2018) the much sought after crosswalk at Mariners Drive and Riverbank Drive on Holmes Hill, Hantsport, was not approved by council.
One must note that this was based on a “Treatment Selection Matrix” as set by the Transportation Association of Nova Scotia and a Pedestrian Control Guide, which basically states that there should be 15 EAU’s per hour for seven hours per day and 1,500 vehicles/day as the minimum requirements before a crosswalk can be applied.
Hantsport, with a population of approximately 903, only had an average traffic volume on Holmes Hill of 1,074 vehicles and an occasional pedestrian (really?) during the period of Oct.3-14, 2017 as calculated by the municipality.
I would think that a city would meet the minimum requirements but Hantsport, with such a small population, cannot. Safety is one of the key objectives in providing crossing control. (EAU means Equivalent Adult Units).
Adults are 1.0 EAU, unaccompanied children 12 years and younger are 2.0 EAUs, seniors aged 65-plus are 1.5 EAUs and pedestrians with physical impairments are 2.0 EAUs.
The decision did not take into consideration the speed of the vehicles going up and down Holmes Hill.
It was stated that there was not any history to base any decision on to put a crosswalk at Mariners Drive but Mariners Drive has only been there about six years. The prior condition of the street was very poor and now since being upgraded, speed has increased well over the 50 km per hour.
There are 39 houses on the east side of Holmes Hill without a sidewalk. There are children that live in some of those houses; they walk to and from school.
There are seniors, some with walkers, that need to cross the street to get to that sidewalk; many people walk up and down that street. We are a walking community. In fact, the area around Holmes Hill supports over 20 per cent of the total population of Hantsport.
As stated, safety is the key objective. It was said that adding a crosswalk could actually make it more unsafe than it is. I have a problem agreeing with that if in fact we have a vehicle traffic volume of 1,074. I would think a crosswalk would help.
It was stated that the question of insurance should be looked at. If there was an accident caused by the crosswalk would the municipality be liable? I would think that if there was an accident now in the same vicinity and no crosswalk, then who would be liable.
So to put it in perspective for those of us who want a crosswalk up here, it looks like it is not going to happen. To be fair to the determination given by council, their decision can be reassessed in future as conditions change. Let us hope that it is not an accident that creates the change.