A community group of over 600 people is harnessing the power of its momentum to carry forward their goal of redesigning the roadway and supporting infrastructure through Hubbards to make the community safer for residents and visitors.
“I was almost hit by a car, running,” said Sarah Hare, a longtime resident of the south shore community. “This wasn’t the first time it happened, but this one really, really hit home to me.”
Hare says the close call propelled her to reach out through social media to other residents who share her concerns over road and street safety in the community, she was shocked at how quickly she was able to connect with others on the topic.
“Immediately, everyone came in with their stories. I had no idea how many people had near misses with strollers, little children biking, cyclists,” Hare said.
The conversation over near misses led to the creation of a Facebook group called The Hubbards Streetscape Project.
It’s a place where hundreds of people are unifying their voices over concerns they have surrounding what they call lack of safe roadway infrastructure and design for the fast growing community.
“Over the last 10 years, the traffic has become heavier and heavier and heavier. We want people to come here, we want this to be destination spot where we are connected by sidewalks and we can walk freely and feel safe in our community,” Hare said.
The group has a range of objectives, from calling on the provincial government to implement a recommendation from a Federation of Nova Scotia Municipalities report that would see the province redesignate a stretch of Hubbards as a “main street.”
This redesignation would come with a different design of regulations that the group feels would improve safety.
Another main concern of the group involves the lack of sidewalks throughout the community. They say this makes safely walking to the elementary school, library and skate park a parent’s worst nightmare.
“People will say, ‘I refuse to go on the road with my children because it’s not safe,'” Hare said.
The group says they recently met with representatives of the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Municipality of Chester to voice their concerns and ask for guidance on next steps.
The HRM staff member who participated in that virtual meeting wasn’t available for an interview.
In an email statement, a communications advisor with HRM says any concerns related to speed limits in the community fall under provincial jurisdiction.
However, there is ongoing work that aims to produce a report that examines ways of improving rural transportation.
“Staff continue to work with other orders of government to implement the rural active transportation network, including along provincial roads. Currently, the cost of implementing new sidewalks in rural areas is covered by the community. Staff are working on a report with recommendations to have a more detailed approach to addressing rural active transportation needs,” Erin DiCarlo, a spokesperson with HRM, wrote in an email.
The group says they’re planning to meet with their MLA next week and ultimately continue their charge to develop a formal proposal that aims to redesign the way traffic and people move through the Hubbards community.
“What this community really needs is a redesign. That we can take forward to our municipalities, or provincial government, our federal government, so that they can get behind,” Matthew Morash said, a supporting member of the Hubbards Streetscape Project.