Drivers not heeding rules at revamped intersection

Amy MacKenzie
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Corporal Glen Murphy of RCMP Eastern Traffic Service monitors the intersection off Exit 23 from inside his patrol car. He said there’s been an increase of traffic violations at the intersection since the installation of flashing red lights. AMY MACKENZIE – THE NEWS

Police have noticed an increase of traffic violations at the intersection off Exit 23 since the flashing red traffic lights have been installed.

Cpl. Glen Murphy of the RCMP Eastern Traffic Service said he’s seen a number of people driving through the intersection without coming to a complete stop.

“Since the lights have gone up, we’ve had a number of infractions,” he said. “Whether it’s not stopping or pulling out when they shouldn’t be.”

Murphy said there was a head-on collision at the intersection Thursday because a driver failed to stop at the flashing red light.

“He was pulling on McGregor Avenue here and there was a head-on (collision),”he said. “He just blew right through the red light and he was charged.”

Murphy said after he finished working out at the nearby Pictou County Wellness Centre earlier in the day Friday, he decided to check the intersection out himself.

 “I watched the intersection and I wasn’t there ten minutes and a guy heading towards Westville went right through the intersection,” he said. “ I couldn’t believe it.”

Later in the day, he parked his patrol car at the intersection Friday to monitor the intersection. Around noon, he pulled over at least one driver who drove through the intersection without coming to a full stop.

“Either they don’t understand (what to do at a flashing red light) or they don’t care,” Murphy said of the traffic violators. “When you have a flashing red light, you have to come to a stop. This is treated as a four-way intersection.”

Alan Musick, sales manager at Central Nova Motors, has a perfect view of the intersection from his workplace. Every day he watches drivers rolling through the intersection without stopping.

“I’ve never seen so many people who don’t know what a flashing light is,” he said.

“It’s unbelievably scary watching an armoured truck go through at 50 km,” he said.

He hopes that with the stops police made Friday, people will get the idea that they can’t just drive through.

Murphy said police will continue to monitor the intersection.

“We’re going to do enforcement here,” he said. “It is a new set of lights and people are going to have to get used to it, but people are going to have to understand that they’re there for a reason and it’s to make sure people get through the intersection safely.”

Pamela Menchenton, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, said the lights will be programmed with red, green and yellow traffic signals in about a week.

“Normally they are left flashing for a few weeks to familiarize local frequent road users to the presence of new traffic signals until they are put into active full service,” she said in an email. “They’ve been flashing for two weeks thus far.”

Murphy said police will continue to monitor the intersection once the traffic lights are programmed.

“Stop means stop. It doesn’t mean creep up and go or yield,” Murphy said. “So what I often tell people is, when you get to a stop sign or a red light stop count to three and then go and you’ll find it takes a little bit of time, but eventually you’ll develop it as habit and get used to it.”

Organizations: RCMP Eastern Traffic Service, Pictou County Wellness Centre, Central Nova Motors Department of Transportation

Geographic location: McGregor Avenue, Westville

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Recent comments

  • Resident
    January 10, 2013 - 21:18

    Everyone keeps talking about the traffic violations at the New Glasgow end of MacGregor Ave since the lights have been installed. What about all the violations at the Stellarton end of the same street for about the past two years. At least the New Glasgow police are doing their job, can't say that for the Stellarton Police. They hang out at the town garage and chat while there are people running the stop sign just 20 sseconds down the street ! There are several near misses on a hourly basis, yet there is never a ticket written to anyone. The Stellarton Police are LAZY!!!!!!!!!!!

  • stavros
    January 10, 2013 - 16:30

    I am sorry but the last thing Westville Road needs is another intersection with lights. Ever since they put that horrible intersection in front of Wendy's that road is a nightmare to drive. So people take Munroe Avenue to avoid it, only to have Purvis bust you for 10 over the limit/seatbelt/daytime running lights.

  • Johnny smoke
    January 10, 2013 - 10:08

    Lights, red, green or yellow cannot think, that is the responsibility of the drivers, from what I have seen in this county, we are all in big trouble. The irony is that the county is full of driving schools, next question, what are they teaching their students?

  • KCMS
    January 09, 2013 - 11:28

    That highway exit is incredibly dangerous and has needed lights for years! Drivers fly off the highway and into the industrial park at incredible speeds and at night time, essentially through the dark. Hopefully drivers adjust to the traffic lights and the intersection becomes safer. Next up, street lights in the industrial park!!

  • Steve M
    January 07, 2013 - 08:02

    Drivers dont understand the rules and people in general simply dont seem to care too much about others. This is an attitude problem, not a lights or planning problem.

  • Marie Langdon
    January 06, 2013 - 17:51

    Sorry,but you make driving in a small town too complicated...there is no need for all of this ....just use the plain STOP sign...also ,Provost Street is a disaster...it may look fine on the computer but in real life ...No!! Try driving in Vancouver...it is not as complicated as Pictou County.

  • KMD
    January 05, 2013 - 10:25

    I for one was almost side swiped at this light.....These traffic lights have been there 2 weeks now and it is 2 weeks over due for the RCMP to sit there and write tickets! I hope they write 100's to all the stupid drivers who have no idea what the rules of the road are! A red light means stop no matter if it is flashing or not, it means stop and nothing else. The drivers in this area are the worst i have ever seen, people around here have no idea what the rules of the road are!!

    • Holly
      January 05, 2013 - 15:38

      KMD - Amen! Even some of the comments to the article are rediculous. It clearly states that the flashing red is being done to get drivers used to having to stop for an intersection - it's not permanent! I'm not sure why people don't get that they have to stop at a flashing red. It's not rocket science!

  • Please learn to drive
    January 05, 2013 - 08:56

    I agree with Joseph. These lights should be set, not just as 4 way red flashers. Almost every time I have gone through this intersection coming from New Glasgow and heading to Central Supplies at least one car fails to yield. I guess some people think if you are turning left you do not have the right of way, even though you are there first! I cannot believe how many drivers do not know the rules of the road - unless they just don't care.

  • dumb idea
    January 05, 2013 - 08:50

    Why waste money on traffic lights that flash one color? I think this intersection should be a 4 way with stop signs. making a simple thing complicated will cause accidents. Or we could replace the yield signs at the same intersection with flashing amber lights.

  • Patricia
    January 05, 2013 - 08:36

    People here do NOT know how to use the flashing lights... for example when there was a flashing yellow and red light at the bridge in New Glasgow, people would stop at the yellow light... when it is just a caution. And the people who were at the Red flashing thought they could just go when ever they wanted. Without making sure there was no traffic coming in the other direction. I was almost hit several times, and the drivers probaby still do not know they would have been in the wrong. I think there should be reminders on the radio - to tell people how to drive correctly.

  • Robert McMillan
    January 05, 2013 - 07:37

    Wrong intersection in the wrong place at the wrong time. Provincial guidelines for a 4 way busy intersection recommend a roundabout. The Province indicates there is insufficient space at exit 23. I paced off the exit 24 roundabout. With all the road widening and right turn lanes at exit 23, there is enough pavement to handle an exit 24 sized roundabout. And the benefits. Everyone slows down. No more head on collisions. Any accidents are at slow speed. And smoother traffic flow.

  • Holly
    January 05, 2013 - 06:37

    It's common sense - flashing red means stop. It's pretty simple!

  • PC Resident
    January 05, 2013 - 06:00

    The article stated that they set the lights as flashing red to get people used to the intersection. People are in such a hurry and don't care until someone gets hurt or even killed. I watched one driver yesterday not stop and talking on cell phone. He must not care what laws he breaks or whom he hurts. Just think about what would happen if he got into an accident and hurt a family member or anyone. Please people of Pictou County think about the rules of the road and drive safe.

  • ng resident.
    January 04, 2013 - 20:16

    Why dont they just turn the lights on the way they are suppose to be. I drive that everyday and its pretty scary right now because i honestly believe ppl dont understand what it means. Half dont even understand a the stop signs downtown n. nor do they understand it in pictou coming off the rotary to sobeys. If a cop sat in the sobeys they catch a bunch of ppl that dont understand a four way stop.

  • joseph
    January 04, 2013 - 19:25

    I think that instead of the red light flashing ,the lights should be set the same way as they are set at the highland square mall , not only to make it better for drivers but it would be safer.

    • jim
      January 04, 2013 - 23:51

      The problem is easily solved by getting the darn lights working. They were put in over two weeks ago and they still blink red. As well, did the building of the Wellness Center catch someone off guard. They must not of known it was coming. It is not all that hard, when one side is green the other side should be red. Then about 45 seconds later the red side goes green and the green side goes red. GET THE LIGHTS DOING WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

    • Raymond Haynes
      January 05, 2013 - 09:07

      I believe the Red flashing lights work better than the red ,green ,amber lights,a 4 way stop with signs would have done the job ! We should not be expected to make everything idiot proof,people should learn to drive ! Raymond

    • Mark
      January 05, 2013 - 09:52

      This is a Pictou County problem! I saw the same thing at the George street bridge. People don't understand the difference between flashing amber and flashing red.

  • Crazyhorse
    January 04, 2013 - 18:35

    Hmmm, perhaps temporary stop signs would help until they have them running properly. Cheap and EVERYONE knows what a stop sign is. Doesn't help that the News initially reported that Westville road traffic would have a yield light.

    • Observer
      January 05, 2013 - 17:11

      CrazyHorse: I too commented on that initial news report but my comment was not printed. I think I might be banned from commenting on news Stories because I tend to be critical of the quality of The News Reporting. I believe the initial News Report on the Exit 23 traffic light mislead the public.