To the Editor,
I am writing again about the still ongoing and, frankly, disturbing issue that continues to be unresolved regarding a sidewalk to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, or our hospital as most still call it.
While revisiting several Amherst News articles regarding the matter from July 2013 to April 2014, it seems some councillors don’t think it is that important and even one says he thinks it would cause things to be worse. I would gladly lend my scooter to John Kellegrew so he can make the trip from my place to the hospital and back to give him a reality check since he thinks it is not worth doing and would likely make things even worse.
As I have said many times I, and many other people, must go to the Hospital on a regular basis for blood-work and often for other reasons with walking or scooters being their only means of transportation. I can tell you that pretty much every time I go out there on my scooter, I have some type of potentially fatal experience because I must drive right on the highway. I have stopped and talked to others walking that route and they have all experienced similar heart-pounding fear when a Tractor-Trailer Truck comes flying by only an arm’s reach away.
If our Hospital had been left in town where it belongs we would not need to worry about people being killed on their way to get help in order to stay alive, but since the decision was made to put the Hospital outside of the town limits those decision makers need to be held accountable for us getting there as safely as possible if our only means is using a sidewalk on a regular basis. It really is that simple.
Frankly, these types of issues are the kind that should have been resolved in the planning phase of the project to move our Hospital out of the town boundaries. It wasn’t rocket science, for Heaven’s sake.
I have run many scenarios on how the sidewalk could be done while I was on my way out there, and my conclusion is as follows: Firstly, based on starting on the Canadian Tire side, there seems to be plenty of room for the sidewalk itself to be put in right from the town to the hospital. So let’s consider the issue of crosswalks. There are four ramps to contend with, only two of which the issue of speed is of any real concern. Those being the off ramp coming into Amherst from the Trans-Canada highway and the ramp on the other side for cars turning to go on to the Trans-Canada highway coming from the Nappan direction. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best resolution. That is for the decision makers to figure out soon.
If crosswalks were to be put in at each of the four ramps with nice big overhead Crosswalk signs that included flashing yellow lights, I believe the problem would be solved. I say that because those who will use the sidewalk have enough brains to look both ways before crossing, traffic or no traffic.
As a matter of fact, if putting crosswalks in is going to be the big issue that is stopping us getting a sidewalk put in, then just put the sidewalk in so we can get off of the highway, and we will all be extra careful to look for oncoming traffic before proceeding across a ramp. I think we could handle that.
I didn’t realize that a crosswalk at the site of the Senior Citizens complex across from the Hospital was also an issue, but if it is, why? A crosswalk there with proper signage would not affect traffic that much either. It certainly sounds like our safety is much less of an issue than good traffic flow. Does this really sound like the people we elected to make wise decisions for us are even using any basic common sense on our behalf?
In closing please, my fellow councillors and all others involved, regroup and come to an agreement that one life is one too many to lose because of your lack of understanding and/or concern for those whom you were elected to represent and just get the job done before someone does die over this.
Jim Mitchell, Amherst