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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