Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Environment featured

Sackville tragedy is wholly due to an infrastructure oversight

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Our lack of consideration for the needs of people travelling on foot has come into sharp focus yet again with the tragic loss of a local resident who was walking across the Beaverbank Connector from local services to his home.

Sackville Manor Mobile Home Park is a community marooned by unforgiving Highway infrastructure not designed for local access.  

Residents use a make-do route to access local services and the nearest bus stops, crossing on and off ramps to Highway 101 and then walking along a Beaverbank Connector that lacks sidewalks.

The alternative is a round-trip which would take them around one hour.

The cause of incidents involving pedestrians is often misunderstood in Halifax as being down to the stupidity and ignorance of the victim. This tragedy was no exception, requiring a family member to address the misunderstandings through making a statement on social media:

“I didn’t know about the comments on this post until my cousin brought them to my attention. First of all I want to tell everyone that we suffered a tragic loss last night. He was an Uncle a cousin a brother and a son. He or no one deserves to be disrespected, and those that do should be ashamed of themselves.

Today we had to learn from the news that he was not hit by one car but by two because at least the police had the decency to know that, that information does nothing but make it worse. WE CAN’T EVEN SEE HIM BECAUSE HE IS UNRECOGNIZABLE. The coroners words not ours! SO grow up and have some respect please. Our family member was killed last night doing something he has probably done a million times, walking home. Many lives have been affected by this tragedy, my family, the police, the EMT’s and the driver of the cars. NS has the highest rate of car – pedestrian accidents I have ever seen, something needs to be done, not complaining, not blaming, actual improvements. There were a lot of factors that caused this tragedy, we need factors to prevent!”

Even if you light yourself up like a Christmas tree you can’t navigate the Beaverbank Connector safely.  Unfortunately the cause of this incident is infrastructure which was never intended to provide any kind of safe crossing point for people on foot.

The challenges presented by this crossing in the dark are seen in a video here by Doug Dolliver, a local resident who walks this route at midnight each day on his return from work.

For some time and perhaps indefinitely, many local residents will continue to make this journey each day out of lack of choice.  There is no promise of a solution, though local councillor Steve Craig is tackling the issue head on by taking a resolution to Council next week after stating he would also navigate the route if he lived there.

The Province say an infrastructure solution could cost as little as $500,000. A small price to pay for the safety of local children, seniors and every other resident who is quietly crossing this route to access essential services and public transport.

We can afford to upgrade our existing interchanges at a cost of $20 million to make them wider, even build entirely new intersections like this one at a cost of $28 million to “enhance the quality of life of Canadians by enabling them to spend less time on the road and more time with their families.” If we can manage multi million dollar motoring convenience, we can certainly afford this far less expensive fix as a priority to provide basic safety and essential access.

Even if the cost of a fix was much greater than the $500,000 estimate, there is no financial argument which can justify placing these local residents in great danger multiple times a day. But if you had to make a financial case for a resolution, you could say that residents have permission to live there and our governance is receiving tax benefits from them. Surely it is right to provide them with a means of getting to and from the nearest bus stop?

If you walk, cycle or use a wheelchair and are affected by road safety issues, please join HRM Safe Streets for Everyone. If your local crosswalk needs a crosswalk flag, please contact the Crosswalk Safety Society. Please remember to report issues affecting your safety to our municipal authorities through the 311 service.

 


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7 Comments

  1. I have lots of things to say about this, I’ll try to keep it short. This trailer park is and has been somewhat isolated since it’s existence as far as I know; it has a very awkward to get to entrance with not consistent sidewalks, and no bus service. Think of the people who live in trailer parks and why they live there; yes, they chose to live there, but they didn’t choose to not have enough money to own a car. To put this in perspective, if pedestrians were to stick to main roads without having to cross the highway, the nearest grocery store is a 4.5km walk (one way, of course).

    There is a logistical problem with this lower income area, and the people in charge need to stop dismissing it. (For the past 30 years).

    I still feel like the councillor is not taking this as far as he should…

    Reply
    1. Thanks Lee. Tragic that it has taken the death of a much loved local resident to result in a real push for some solutions. I hope both Steve Craig and the local MLA will work closely to get this resolved. We should I hope hear more next week on this. Keep asking our leadership what they are doing and when to fix this.

      Reply
  2. Why does it take a death before something is done. Every time. Never fails. Shame. Sad. Sickening. I don’t know what else to say. My heart goes out to that family.

    Reply
  3. The infastructure here is garbage. I’m from here, but I’ve spent years living abroad, even in the third world, and they are doing more than what’s been done here in the time I’ve been gone.

    The roads are terrible in every possible way. Potholes, poorly designed and the lines aren’t even there for crosswalks. What a bunch of idiots we are for continuing to pay taxes while accepting these living conditions.

    People will read this article, bitch and moan, maybe post something on Facebook and that’ll be it. Nothing will happen to improve anything. It never does here. You can whine all you want, but this is it for this neck of the woods.

    Failing infastructure along with what’s happening or not happening in the schools and hospitals makes this place a sinking ship.

    Reply
    1. It is appalling. People who walk and cycle should not be putting themselves at grave risk day in day out. Personally I prefer not to suffer in silence so I will continue to squawk here even though it may not result in any actual improvements.

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  4. Hello, this was my uncle I am the one quoted in this article. I wanted to let everyone know that my uncles death may not have been in vain, the RCMP have sent a report to the proper people to hopefully get something done. As the constable told me, “This should never have happened, people of all ages walk that route and things need to change” Hopefully we can prevent this from happening again. We all know usually takes a tragedy to get the politicians to move.
    Thank you to everyone, let’s make a change.

    Reply

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