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Residents start petition to turn ‘dangerous’ Halifax intersection into 4-way stop

WATCH: Residents of a Halifax neighbourhood have started a petition in hopes of persuading the municipality to convert a dangerous intersection into a four-way stop. Julia Wong has more.

HALIFAX – Residents in a Halifax neighbourhood are putting pressure on the municipality to install a four-way stop at what they call a dangerous intersection.

There have been several accidents at Edward Street and Binney Street over the last few months and residents are getting fed up. Right now, the intersection is only a two-way stop, with the stop signs on Binney Street.

Residents say they have witnessed many car crashes over the years at the intersection.
Residents say they have witnessed many car crashes over the years at the intersection. Julia Wong/Global News

Christine Donnelly-Moan has lived on Edward Street for eight years. She said it seems some motorists are turning onto Binney Street to avoid traffic at Jubilee Street and Robie Street, but they are not seeing the stop signs.

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“People miss it all the time,” she said. “It’s a bad intersection because of the stop sign and the speed with which people travel on these roads.”

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Binney has three young children, ages 14, 10 and seven, who she worries about.

“My concerns are this is a very child-friendly neighbourhood and they’re on the sidewalk. They’re looking when they’re crossing the street but if a car is going super fast, it doesn’t matter if they look.”

Donnelly-Moan said it appears the motorists are simply trying to shave a few minutes off their commute by passing through the residential neighbourhood, and she wants to remind them of the risk that creates for residents.

“It’s a very mixed neighbourhood: children, dogs, young people, old people, anyone can get hit by a car,” she said.

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Ellen and Scott Taylor are longtime residents of Edward Street. The couple moved into their house 42 years ago. They said the intersection has always been troublesome but said it’s time something is done about it.

“We’ve seen a lot of accidents,” Ellen said.

“I think it is quite dangerous. I think definitely something should be done.”

Scott Taylor said turning the intersection into a four-way stop would at least provide a buffer zone to protect pedestrians and residents.

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“You’ve got most directions supposedly stopped so if one doesn’t, hopefully the other one will avoid the accident,” he said.

“It’s frustrating. You wish people would drive carefully and look for the stop signs and obey them but they seem to be not doing it in all cases.”

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Two of the three recent car crashes have hit close to home for Colin McKenzie — literally.

The vehicle flipped upside down before smashing into a tree.
The vehicle flipped upside down before smashing into a tree. Courtesy/Colin McKenzie
The car hit a tree in McKenzie's front lawn.
The car hit a tree in McKenzie's front lawn. Courtesy/Colin McKenzie
One crash sent a vehicle slamming into the corner of McKenzie's house.
One crash sent a vehicle slamming into the corner of McKenzie's house. Courtesy/Colin McKenzie

Last July, a vehicle failed to stop at the stop sign, flipped onto its roof and hit a tree on the corner of his property.

More recently, two vehicles collided last month at the intersection and one hit the corner of his house.

“If the car had hit the porch directly rather than the corner of the house, there could have been a lot more damage,” McKenzie said.

“There’s a lot of children and students in the area that use our sidewalks regularly. If there had been someone walking on the street at that time [it hit my house] there would have been potentially a fatality.”

Call for action

Residents have banded together and have contacted their councillor, Waye Mason, about the issue. They also started a petition requesting the intersection be turned into a four-way stop immediately.

An excerpt from the four-way stop petition.
An excerpt from the four-way stop petition. Courtesy/Rob Green

Mason said the accidents and the safety issues they cause are concerning.

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“Right now you’ve got a lot of shortcutting going on through there. It’s not safe. We need to at least consider moving the two-way stop the other way but probably a four-way stop is the right way to go,” he said.

“It’s really important people be aware this is a neighbourhood with children. The public school is four blocks away and a lot of kids are walking through so parents and residents are understandably concerned about the risk.”

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Jennifer Stairs, a spokesperson for the municipality, said staff are currently doing a traffic review of the intersection, which involves looking at collision data from the past five years, vehicle and pedestrian volume in the area and speed data. The review must be completed before any decision on changes to the intersection can be made.

“We’ll see what it shows us but it may show it warrants a change to a four-way stop to make it a safer intersection for all users. We’re certainly open to looking at that possibility,” she said.

“We certainly understand that any safety issue is something that’s going to weigh on residents’ minds. We’re very happy to be looking into this for them. We would ask them to sit tight obviously until we get that data in place.”

Stairs said the review will likely take at least one month to be completed.

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McKenzie is hopeful something will be done to improve the intersection.

“It’s a simple thing to put a four-way stop in this intersection and hopefully prevent further accidents,” he said.

“If [it] takes a four-way stop to bring everyone to a stop before they proceed through the intersection, that’s what should be done.”