Amid criticism, Road Safety Plan to go before Halifax Regional Council Tuesday
It’s been a few years in the making, and on Tuesday, a road map for how the Halifax Regional Municipality should address road safety — the Strategic Road Safety Plan — will go before city council.
Statistics show 1,400 people are injured each year in the Halifax area as a result of vehicle collisions. It’s hoped that the new plan will make things safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
The plan hasn’t gone before council yet, but is already drawing some criticism.
“This is really a plan to plan,” said Norm Collins of The Crosswalk Safety Society of Nova Scotia.
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Collins, who has been working as a crosswalk safety advocate for years, doesn’t think the Strategic Road Safety Plan should be adopted by council.
“We absolutely believe HRM needs a strong, vibrant, well-funded road safety plan,” Collins said. “No question about that, [but] this just isn’t it.”
Collins says there is no real action in the plan and doesn’t believe it goes far enough.
“If you don’t have the money and you don’t have the detail as to what you’re going to prioritize and what you’re going to do, it just becomes a document, some paper that I suspect will sit on a shelf and certainly over the next number, few years, very little attention will be put to it,” he told Global News.
The Halifax Cycling Coalition also believes the plan may not go far enough. They would like to see the city adopt a true vision zero plan — which means there would be zero deaths on the city streets.
“Right now, they’re looking at a towards vision zero, and so that means that they’re working towards zero deaths on the road from collisions and we would like to see that being no deaths on the road, and that being the real vision,” said Meghan Doucette with the Halifax Cycling Coalition.
“Maybe they’re not going to get there next year or in five years, but we would like them to maintain that that is the goal.”
Councillor Lorelei Nichol, meanwhile, says the Strategic Road Safety Plan is needed for the future.
“This is a framework. It’s something that we really need to get passed in order for us to sort of go from there, making sure that we have at least the foundational work done and improvements will be ongoing,” said Nichol.
“The actionable items will come. It’s kind of like building a house, you know — you have your foundation and then you start putting the walls up and everything else. So all those things will come to fruition as the plan is approved.”
The plan is scheduled to go before Halifax City Council on Tuesday, July 17.
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