Two local women are armed with a petition in hopes of getting town council to reverse a traffic decision.
Barb Poirier and Deborah Geck have collected 100 names on paper in a short period of time in hopes having Veterans Drive in Pictou return to a two-way street.
In a vote of 3-2, Pictou council decided in August to turn a portion of the street one-way in hopes of addressing concerns about speed and high traffic volumes on the street.
Council had done two traffic studies on the street that connects Haliburton Road with Weaver Road. The most recent study shows the average number of vehicles on the road is 1,800 per day and that speed isn’t an issue.
Town staff recommended that, based on recent study results, the road remain the same as it is, but the town should increase traffic awareness though signs and educating the public.
Staff estimated it would cost about $200,000 to put sidewalks along the street and the town’s total sidewalk budget for this year is $390,000, so it was ruled out as an option.
After the barricades were placed on Veterans Drive in December, social media lit up and police cruisers were in place to advise people of the change.
- Poirier and Geck said they were unaware that any changes would be taking place until they read a media story about a town council meeting after the vote was finished.
Geck said she went online looking for minutes from the council meetings but they weren’t posted until after the decision was final.
Seventy-six-year-old Poirier, who lives on Hector Avenue, off Veteran’s Drive, said she recently knocked on every door at Strathcona Place, a seniors complex on Haliburton Road, were she heard complaints ranging from paper routes having to be changed to seniors concerned about having to pay more for taxis that take them home from Sobeys.
“I was so upset about this I took the petition and went to Strathcona and sat and talked to every one of them. One woman took me to the bingo hall and said, come on down there, and I got about 10 of them on one swoop. Someone said, ‘Good, someone is doing something about this.’”
The women say the barricade put in place to stop traffic going southbound onto Veterans Drive before Dunromin Street is creating more of a safety concern than the previous issues because people are speeding through it the wrong way or pedestrians have to walk through the narrow closure.
Council told residents in attendance at Monday’s committee of whole meeting that motorized scooters are allowed to travel both ways through the barricade.
RCMP said it is continuing to monitor the area and people will be ticketed if they are caught disobeying the traffic signs. Council also asked police to monitor the newly paved Haliburton Road after speeding complaints were raised by a resident at the same meeting.
Geck, who has family in Strathcona Place, wants to have a meeting with council about the traffic changes so residents can learn more about the decision, the studies and find out if the decision is reversed, but will be having no public meetings on the topic.
In a letter to Geck in October, Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan said he would be willing to meet with her in his office, but council will not be including this topic on an agenda or convening a meeting at this time on the issue.
“Council feels that this topic of Veterans Drive has been appropriately dealt with, and as stated in the motion, will be reviewed following the one-year trial period,” he wrote.
Geck said she still wants that meeting with council, but in the meantime hopes as many people as possible will sign the petition so they can have their voices heard on the issue.
“They say it is for a year, but we want to be able to ask some questions,” she said. “What makes this street so different from any other street in town?”