Intersection under review

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Trucker who clipped downtown traffic lights may have done other motorists a favour

Intersection under review

AMHERST - It seems as though a truck driver may have done Amherst a favour when his rig clipped a traffic light in the downtown during last month's Four Fathers Festival.

Amherst's traffic authority, police chief Charlie Rushton, is studying traffic patterns in the area of the busted traffic light on the corner of Church and Albion streets to determine whether the light needs to be replaced.
"Right now we are reviewing whether there's a requirement to replace the traffic lights there," the chief said Thursday. "At first blush the traffic seems to be flowing well with just stop signs there."
Rushton said the study will look at things like how much traffic uses the intersection and it will also look at how maintaining stop signs there will impact other intersections in the area, such as Church and Prince Arthur and Church and Pleasant.
"From this study we'll make the determination as to whether the lights are needed and if we need to put them back in again," the chief said, adding he's working with the town's engineering department. "It's on our priority list, but it isn't at the top of that list because all indications are that it is working well. We want to give it enough time to assess it properly."
Originally, when the truck carrying wind turbine parts hit the traffic light in early July it was predicted it would take about two to three weeks to fix the light. Town crews, though, have noticed that since the light was taken out of commission and replaced with a three-way stop sign that traffic seems to be flowing smoother through the area than before.
That led the town's engineering department to ask the chief to look into leaving things as they are.
"There's no requirement now to sit and wait for a cycle of traffic lights to go through, but having said that for us to be able to assess how effective the stop signs are we need to consider things like any accidents that occur in that intersection," the chief said.
Rushton is not sure when the traffic lights were first installed at the intersection, saying it was before he joined the department 35 years ago.
The chief feels the installation of the lights may have been connected to the fact that prior to the construction of the Trans-Canada a half century ago, traffic travelling through the area to and from other parts of Nova Scotia used to go through the heart of the downtown.
"The Trans-Canada now bypasses Amherst and a lot of the traffic that used to flow through the town doesn't anymore," he said. "There may have been a requirement at that time for a traffic light at that location, but I don't know the history."
dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Prince Arthur and Church, Trans-Canada

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia

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  • amherstguy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:23

    I would highly doubt that the skate board park will be in that area. Had you been at the meeting you would have known that it was the area that was least favoured.

    I, as someone who dives through that area several times a day, can only hope that it continues to be a threeway stop. Loving it.

  • Amherst Lady
    January 18, 2010 - 11:20

    Good idea about the stop sign HOWEVER...there should be another stop sign in front of the left turning cars off of Albion so the idiots I met realize YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO STOP. I have been through there a few times since the change over and every time there is some nut in a hurry driving through without stopping once the guy was soo close I thought my front bumper was gone for sure...and the he looked at me like I was the idiot... Hello town police sit at the old garage lot and count how many run the sign comming off of Albion.

  • first last
    January 18, 2010 - 11:11

    If not turning the lights off overnight, which many towns do, how about at least making them responsive to the flow of traffic?

    Albion and Robert Angus has to be one of the poorest light arrangements around.

  • Jack for amherst
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    Since we are on the top of intersections ! What is up with the intersection off Church onto Victoria ! A person can only make a left or right turn! When the light turns GREEN so do the WALK signs! Surprized no one has been run over yet on a green light ! Maybe someone should look into that too!

  • Gree Me
    January 18, 2010 - 11:01

    To RAS:
    All excellent points. I believe all the candidates for council & mayor pledged
    they would work for a greener Amherst.
    Fewer stop lights & 4-ways would certainly reduce idilling there-by reducing emissions.
    Let's go for it!!!!
    Take it to a council meeting.

  • ras
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    Too bad someone wouldn't clip off a few more lights throughout town. That intersection seems to run well now, no idling for nothing. We could do with a lot less 4 ways stops too. A lot of lights could switch to flashing red certain times of the day, like between 6 pm and perhaps 8 am. as well as on sunday's.
    This would be enviromentaly friendly as well.

  • Leave the Signs Up
    January 18, 2010 - 10:56

    I personally love the stop signs vs the lights. BUT to JS who commented on Kudos to council for not just replacing the lights at taxpayers cost Im thinking that the big ol truck that hit the lights just MIGHT have insurance that would have to pay for the damage. They lights just didnt break on their own....
    SO I wonder if thats true then where would all the insurance $$ go if they installed 3 Stop Signs? We would be stupid not to take the new lights if that what the insurance covers! Unless of course they let the town keep the xtra cash!!!! Could help towards the skate park!
    We should do a study on the study!! ENOUGH STUDIES WASTING $$$

  • JS
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    Good point Leave the Signs, I never thought of that. Yes, take the insurance money and put it into the skate park, and go with stop signs instead. There, no study is needed now, problem solved.

  • Lucky
    January 18, 2010 - 10:55

    I hope a truck breaks the lights at a&w!
    ever try getting into town there? I've seen the line up past the underpass near the hospital. It is impossible to make one of the three lights ( a&w, robert angus, kent) wasting time, fuel and patience. I guess that's what happens when a bunch of farmers are setting the controls! I'd like to know who is certified to set these lights and what training they have!

  • GIGI
    January 18, 2010 - 10:51

    I think that the lights should go back up. that way people will STOP. Too many people run the stop signs!! I think that people don't know the meaning of the stop sign, Where are the cops when you need them the most with people NOT stoping at the signs. I'm just fed up with all the non stopers out there. go back to school and learn what STOP means.

  • Jim
    January 18, 2010 - 10:49

    Leaving the stop signs up would be positive from both a traffic flow and environmental perspective - there can be no logical alternative. Now about the cause - an enormous load being hauled through the centre of town??!! Hasn't Amherst outgrown the need to have huge, noisy fuel-guzzling tractor-trailers blasting through the downtown? Why isn't there a bypass signed and enforced to keep these things out of the downtown core? They contribute nothing to the town except pollution and damage to the infrastructure. Send them out to Robert Angus Drive where they belong.

  • anita
    January 18, 2010 - 10:45

    what about the pedestrians who have to cross the street,will cars stop for them,some dont stop at intersections at all.unless you put your hand out to stop cars

  • JS
    January 18, 2010 - 10:40

    Seriously, the stop signs are an improvement. For one thing, it ensures all drivers slow down and stop there, instead of zooming through the green light. For another, the red light was too long anyway so even if you have to stop, you still get through it quicker. Lastly, the walk button was broken for a long time, which made it difficult to cross the street when at least one way always has a green light.

    I'm all for getting rid of some of the other 4 way stops and lights where they're not necessary too. Kudos to council for not just blindly replacing the light at taxpayer cost, but instead taking the opportunity to reassess the situation.

  • Digity Dog
    January 18, 2010 - 10:40

    I posted this earlier but for some reason they took it off..
    My Point was that before we congratulate the town for doing ANOTHER STUDY before they wasted money on putting up new lights we should realize something. The guy in the truck.....well he would have insurance that would pay they total bill on replacing the lights. So if the town settles for 3 stop signs they my question was simply can the town get the xtra insurance $$ and use it elsewhere?? If not I would suggest the town take the free set of lights from insurance company and then move them should they decide 3 stop signs were more effecient...
    Im not sure how this question was offensive to be taken of??

  • Lola
    January 18, 2010 - 10:36

    Put the lights back up up. Too many people don't know the meaning of the word stop. I'm fed up with people running the stop sign. People learn the proper meaning of how stop! you are supposed to count to five after stoping, and then go, only if it is your turn to do so

  • Greg
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    All we would need to make it easier for the pedestrians is an overhead flashing sign like the one on South Albion in front of Acadian Printing.

  • Doug
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    The flow of trafic is much better with stop signs. Leave it this way.

  • Bob
    January 18, 2010 - 10:33

    What is going to happen when they get the $250,000 skateboard park in that area? The traffic from boarders alone will make a need for the lights. Then there's all the spectators...

  • Christina
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    I so agree with Jack for amherst! I was downtown once and saw a woman with a baby crossing and the car almost hit the stroller... only missed it by about an inch! .. The lights on Albion are the same way too. I was almost hit there 3 times.. if I hadn't have known they were like that I'm sure I would've been hit. The walk light crossing Albion goes on at the same time as the green light for the cars coming out of the parking lots (dollarstore, kent)

  • lb
    January 18, 2010 - 10:29

    well to inlighten Amhersts traffic authority, police chief Charlie Rushton .. It had nothing to do with the building of the TCH .. the Nova Scotia Dept of Highways was responsible for mataninance on the main routes in and out of town .. man u should go with the KISS method when giving interveiws ... u seem to have a tendancy to bury urself ..... on the 3 way stop ...should be an interesting spot during the 6 weeks of christmass shopping... and whats with the way they have those lights set up now ... wonder somone hasnt been run over...