‘It’s made it safe’: Nova Scotia town rallies to keep temporary crosswalk installed for event

Click to play video: 'Pedestrian safety concern in Hubbards, N.S.'
Pedestrian safety concern in Hubbards, N.S.
WATCH: The 2022 World Sailing Championships are currently being held in Hubbards, N.S. To help with pedestrian safety, a crosswalk has been installed in the community. But even though residents have been asking for this crosswalk for years, the crosswalk will be removed once the event wraps up. Amber Fryday reports – Sep 1, 2022

Nova Scotia had a temporary crosswalk installed at the top of Yacht Club Road in Hubbards as a safety measure, as The Hubbards Sailing Club has welcomed the world’s best sailors from over 35 countries for the World Sailing Championships.

The Hubbards community had already been tirelessly advocating for safer roads in a Facebook group called “Hubbards Streetscape Project.” The new crosswalk is situated in a high foot-traffic area, and they want it to stay.

The crosswalk is situated on Highway 3 on St. Margaret’s Bay Road — notorious for speeding — where the speed limit is 50 km/h.

“This is a really busy spot in general for our community and I know we’ve been seeing a lot of folks, normally riding through quick, taking their time; its been a big deal for us,” said Amy Reid, a lifelong resident of Hubbards and a member of Hubbards Streetscape Project.

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“It’s been an obvious positive change for the town of Hubbards.”

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The Department of Public Works told Global News, “the crosswalk does not meet our design standards for a permanent crosswalk, but due to the short duration, and the size of the event, the crosswalk was installed on a temporary basis.”

For 14-year-old resident Elliott Burke, who often bikes in the area, that doesn’t make much sense.

“I don’t understand why. It’s made it so safe. Everyone thinks that, so just keep it,” said Burke.

He said, “cars just fly through the area,” and having the safeguard in place has been a game-changer.

MLA for the area Danielle Barkhouse and city councillor Pam Lovelace have had the community’s back.

“The province has stated that it needs to be removed because of it not meeting sightline criteria. And of course my response to that is, well then why did you put it in in the first place?,” said Lovelace.

“Now that we’re actually effectively changing driver and pedestrian behaviour, we’ve seen an incredible change in the safety around the Shatford Library as well as the Yacht Club Road. It’s an excellent opportunity to continue to enforce pedestrian safety along Highway 3.”

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Lovelace said the municipality is happy to upkeep the crosswalk.

“We’ve offered to maintain it, to paint it, to take care of the RFP, the flashing lights that are there and keep it as a permanent structure for pedestrian safety in the community,” she said.

The province said there are a number of factors as to why the crosswalk will not be made permanent, including the volume of pedestrians at the location and the lack of an adequate shoulder on the road for pedestrians.

But Hubbards residents disagree.

“Hubbards has tons of visitors every summer, spring, summer, fall actually now. So, you know, people are coming in to visit,” said another Hubbards resident, Sarah Hare.

“They want to find a place to park, they want to find a place to eat, go to the beach. So they’re looking around; they’re not really aware of the speed,” Hare said.  “We are, they are, in a community where there’s young people, seniors, people biking, walking.”

Business owners and residents have written dozens of letters to the Minister of Public Works in an effort to keep the crosswalk.

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Pam Lovelace said she has also requested letters from RCMP and the CEO of the Halifax Library.

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