PICTOU – County councillors are not giving up on making two busy traffic areas safe for pedestrians.
Coun. David Parker asked for support on a motion Monday that would see council partner with Active Pictou County to commission a study to address the lack of safe pedestrian ways in Blue Acres and on Westville Road, between the Pictou County Wellness Centre and Highland Square Mall.
Parker said he recently attended a Sustainable Public Transportation meeting where a wide variety of topics were discussed, including unsafe walkways.
It was suggested at the meeting that county council apply for funding under the Nova Scotia Moves program provided by the Nova Scotia Infrastructure and Transportation Department to address the problem. He said Rae Gunn of Active Pictou County has agreed to work with council staff on the issue and prepare the application for the grant.
“I recently voted against a motion to put lights under the Westville Road overpass, but it is a problem that won’t go away and this doesn't mean we shouldn’t tackle it,” Parker said.
County council has been debating what to do with the darkened, narrow stretch of road between the Wellness Centre and Highland Square Mall for some time now. It looked at putting lights under the overpass so pedestrians would be more visible but the projected cost of lighting is pegged at about $35,000. Parker also expressed concern at the time that putting lighting there might encourage more people to walk in the area when it really is unsafe because of the lack of sidewalks and high volume of traffic.
“We want people to be able to go from the Highland Square Mall to the Wellness Centre and people will travel back and forth,” said Parker on Monday. “But we need to do something without spending a lot of money and I don’t know how to do it.”
Coun. Larry Turner, the councilor for the area, said he agreed that something needed to be done and the study is a good start to addressing the problem.
Coun. Andy Thompson has been lobbying for a long time to have sidewalks placed in the Blue Acres area for walkers and runners who like to do the loop around Stellarton and New Glasgow.
Council agreed to the motion and the application for the funding will go ahead.