UPPER NAPPAN – A group of residents near the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre is urging the Transportation Department to review safety issues in the area.
The group, led by municipal council candidate Marilyn Thompson, says the intersection on Highway 2 between the hospital and Blair Lake Road is not safe.
“The speed limit at this point is still 70 km/h and traffic off the Trans-Canada Highway and from under the overpass tends to be very heavy and fast moving,” Thompson said. “When we see people on motorized wheelchairs travelling toward the hospital, we can see the danger of one of them being hit by a fast-moving vehicle.”
Thompson said there are no sidewalks in the area and no caution light. She said there is a senior’s complex nearby and it’s dangerous for residents to cross the road to get to the hospital.
She wants the department to put a crosswalk in place, put up traffic lights and lower the speed limit. She said speed limits were recently lowered near schools. She said it’s important to do the same near senior’s complexes, nursing homes and areas where there is a high volume of traffic – such as near the hospital.
“There should be sidewalks and we wonder why the town is not working with Amherst to share the costs,” she said. “This is where partnerships work for the benefit of citizens across the whole county. A traffic light is costly, but it comes to saving lives, government and municipalities should combine their efforts to share the costs.”
Present county councillor Gerald Read said the county has been working with the province and Amherst to create a sidewalk from the town.
“We’ve been working on that project with the town and the department for several years and I’m optimistic we’ll see some action on that next year,” said Read, who is one of Thompson’s opponents for the council seat.
Read said the town has offered to extend its sidewalk to the municipal boundary if the county will build a sidewalk to the hospital.
Buffy White, the department’s area manager, said it’s up to the municipality to build a sidewalk, but said she is working with the county on finding a way to cross the on and off ramps to the highway.
“We’re waiting to get a design on how it would look and then go from there,” she said. “We think we can put a crosswalk in there. The same is true for a crosswalk from the hospital to the Blair Lake Road. We need to see a design. It would be the municipality’s responsibility to install the crosswalk.”
As for the speed limit and request to install traffic signals, White said the department reviewed the situation several years and didn’t feel changes were necessary. The department is going to review the situation again, but she’s not sure the decision will be any different this time.