Pictou County council is certainly correct in proceeding with caution on an issue of pedestrian safety that came up at this week’s meeting.
The spot that raises concerns is the underneath of the Trans-Canada overpass – on Westville Road, between the Wellness Centre and Highland Square Mall. The idea of installing lights under the structure had been raised because of the prospect of more pedestrians walking that stretch between the Wellness Centre and the mall, the two hotels or other amenities.
The projected cost of the lighting is daunting in itself, pegged at about $35,000 – on the high side presumably because it would need an extension of electrical service. The cost is pretty hard to justify.
But councillors also expressed concern about the wisdom of placing lighting there. As Coun. David Parker said, it might only encourage pedestrians along a very busy road.
After all, the sides of the road under the overpass are just that – mud and gravel, no sidewalk designating a relatively safe margin for people on foot. In fact, try walking it in daylight hours – it’s a place to keep eyes peeled on the traffic flow. Nighttime would be another story, with or without lights.
Council will look at this item in the leadup to budget talks.
As Deputy Warden Andy Thompson said, pedestrian safety is the chief concern.
That’s where it looks like a classic conundrum shaping up. Pedestrians traversing this tunnel might be few – but those few undoubtedly will continue.
Discussion about a safe passageway likely would not be limited to a set of lights. Really, an established sidewalk with a rail along the side to help ensure pedestrian safety would conceivably be tossed into the conversation.
Also consider this relatively short span runs between the edge of the Town of New Glasgow into county territory to a Wellness Centre that serves the greater surrounding area. This looks like more than just a county issue, but one that should be addressed collectively.