New safety measures coming to downtown intersection

Dave
Dave Mathieson
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Among the several items discussed at this weeks session of town council was passing a motion to make changes to the intersection at Victoria and Church Street.

AMHERST – Drivers and pedestrians using the intersection at the Church and Victoria Street intersection can breath a sigh of relief.

“I think that we’ll see the completion of the work at the intersection within the next three months,” said Mayor Robert Small. “This problem has been going on for years. People have been complaining about it and it’s been a bit of a traffic hazard.”

The biggest change will be no turning right onto Church Street on a red light for traffic heading eastbound on Victoria Street.

The biggest concern among pedestrians has been using the crosswalk from Tim Hortons to where Pugsley’s Pharmacy used to be.

“The whole idea is to the pedestrian some advanced time before the vehicle movement. It’ called an advanced light for the pedestrian,” said Small.

The biggest concerns for drivers is determining the right-of-way between eastbound cars on Victoria Street turning right at the red light, while westbound cars on Victoria Street have a green light to turn left onto Church Street.

Small says the changes won’t solve all the problems.

“As the police chief (Ian Naylor) said, its not supposed to be a silver bullet to solve all the problems but it’s a way of enhancing the current system so the pedestrian is being considered more than it is now,” said Small. “Council’s been talking about this for a decade and it’s one of those things where we’re trying to get things improved from where it is today.”

People will have time to adjust to the new system upon its implementation.

“We’re going to have some public education and have some advertising because that right on the red light is going to be an adjustment for people,” said Small. “So there will be a bit of time to give people the benefit of the doubt, and the police are going to try to inform the citizens of this change.”

A motion to do the work was passed unanimously at Monday’s town council meeting.

 The council agenda said as follows: “The eastbound traffic in the right hand turn lane have no indicator of when the (westbound) left hand turn phase is activated. This can result in a eastbound vehicle turning right onto Church Street when the westbound vehicle has the right-of-way, increasing the risk of collision.”

– Other items on the agenda dealt with during council include:

- New Street Clock

Council also discussed what direction they would take with regards to the purchase of a new town clock.

The desired outcome of the new clock is for an aesthetic improvement of the downtown core.

Their agenda included photo’s of eight old fashion street clocks to choose from and they took an informal vote on which one they preferred, second they took an informal vote on whether the clock should have chimes and said it should not have chimes, and finally they talked about where the clock would be installed.

The two main areas debated were at the intersection of Church and Albion Streets on Victoria Street near Town Hall.

The total budget for the clock is $28,000 with 3,000 reserved for installation. Three companies bid for the job and eight designs were submitted.

The clock will be discussed further at the next council meeting.

- Amherst Youth Town Council

Council talked about bringing forward a proposed change to the Amherst Youth Town Council Policy would allow up to two students from the county to participate in Amherst Youth Town Council, which has 12 councilors.

The students would have to attend either E.B. Chandler or Amherst Regional High School.

Youth from the county have applied in the past for county but were rejected because of their place of residence.

It is council’s responsibility to appoint youth councilors. Several stakeholders, including police services and a member of town council, vet the applications. Recommendations are made to council and they make the appointment.

The issue will be debated more at the next council meeting.

- Space not currently available at Town Hall

The Tantramar Seniors College and the Amherst & Area Chamber of Commerce both sent a letter of request to the Town of Amherst asking if they have space in Town Hall to offer instruction and hold meetings.

Council discussed the issue and said there is currently no extra space for any groups.

They said there are many requests for space but, currently, no extra space is available.

“As things stand today, we don’t have space,” said Mayor Robert Small. “Tomorrow we may have space but today we don’t.”

- Funding requests granted

Council passed several motions for funding requests including $250 for the Amherst Community Christmas Dinner, $225 for the Nova Scotia Community College to host the Skate for Prostate, which is Nov. 30 during the Ramblers game at Amherst Stadium.

Other requests discussed will be brought up at the next meeting of council. They include a $1,000 request for Cat Rescue Maritimes, Amherst Chapter, and a $1,000 request to help people afflicted by the typhoon in the Philippines.

 

 

 

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Recent comments

  • dmac
    November 25, 2013 - 01:21

    The best solution is to keep it as simple as it has to be. As others have commented here earlier - install a lights system that has a time period for pedestrians to cross in all directions separate from vehicles.

  • Al
    November 23, 2013 - 11:53

    Who hasn't sat at this intersection waiting patiently for the lights to change, when there is no traffic in the other direction? Other progressive communities of the province have installed lights that have underground sensors and a computer that decides when to change the lights. At the end of the day it's still a mickey mouse fix.

  • Connie
    November 22, 2013 - 22:00

    Are you serious? Why not try having all red lights for a walk light? Most people aren't that much in a hurry.

  • Wayne Unser
    November 22, 2013 - 11:39

    Council. All you need to do is to adjust the walk lights to the way they were until a few years ago. Stop all traffic and allow crossing in all directions. Stop is stop for all vehicles. Walk means walk. Its so clear, its too bad you don't have better things to discuss at your phoney baloney meetings.

  • Macpass
    November 22, 2013 - 08:16

    Here is a novel idea for all cities and towns not just our town Amherst. I am a rocket scientist so it took me awhile to come up with this new idea but here it goes..why not make all traffic lights red while the walk lights are on. If the walk light button is pushed or the walk lights are automatically activated then all lights turn red for a period of time to allow any pedestrian traffic to traverse the crosswalk without having to run a guantlet of both cars and angry drivers that also have the green light to proceed as well. I myself have almost ran over people that were in the intersection @ the same time as I was or as I turned the corner they stepped out into my way as they had the walk light on. My light was green and the walk light was on at the same time. How many people are going to have to be injured or killed before someone gets this. This has been a pet peave of mine for many years especially when people keep getting killed or injured because of this stupid brain dead thing. We have had people here in Amherst that were killed because of them being in the crosswalk @ the same time as a car was. You cannot have moving traffic and pedestrians in the intersection at the same time period. If it is dark, stormy, raining, snowing, driver or pedestrian inattention then someone is going to get hurt or killed ..DOH

  • TskTsk
    November 22, 2013 - 07:51

    I am hopeful that the changes to the lights at Church and Victoria Streets is not limited to only the issue in this article. There have been other long standing issues at that intersection that I believe are more dangerous. The pedestrian walk lights and green lights for the vehicles have not been synchronized for years. There should not be a green light showing anytime the pedestrian walk light is lit. I have been nearly run down on a couple of occasions where I was well into the process of crossing the street and a car is going as well. One time I had to grab my wife and pull her back or she would have been hit. The driver was not stopping. Thanks.