Safety Concerns Raised for West Street in Saint John – New Brunswick
Saint John pedestrians say it is increasingly difficult to safely cross a section of Chesley Drive near the Reversing Falls Bridge.
There is no crosswalk at the Douglas Avenue intersection, making some people try to cross as soon as they see an opening.
But Katelyn Steen isn’t one of them, at least not when she has her child with her.
“It’s fundamentally impossible,” Steen said of the Chesley Drive crossing. “You have to walk to the Falls restaurant and cross to go back.”
She said she felt like she was taking charge of her life when she made an attempt.
“This bridge is initially not very safe for pedestrians and having to cross is not ideal. It would be great if we had a crosswalk here.
Meghan Morris lives in Milldgeville, but said she constantly walks dogs in the bridge area. She said she kept the dogs on the inside part of the sidewalk, away from traffic, when she walked along Chesley Drive.
“And we haven’t been able to cross once in a safe situation yet, so we stayed on one side of the freeway but I couldn’t explore the other side, that’s where we want to go see the overturn falls.
Nick Cameron, government liaison for Saint John Cycling, said his organization has been advocating for traffic changes in the area for years.
READ MORE: Saint John cyclist dies of hit and run, driver charges await
He said cyclists told him they didn’t want to ride in the area because they didn’t feel safe, even with bike lane markings, known as “sharrows”. .
“What we are advocating is a road diet,” Cameron said. “It would be a four lane conversion on Chesley Drive to three lanes.”
He said the fact that four lanes converge at a two-lane “pinch point” at the Reversing Falls Bridge doesn’t make much sense.
“A three-way conversion makes it a lot tidier and more organized that traffic,” Cameron said. “It also reduces the number of conflict points for cars. So, a road regime is very good for cyclists as it makes room for things like cycle lanes, but it is also a much safer route for motorists as there are fewer points of conflict on a route. three-way.
Part of the challenge for Cameron and others is that Chesley Drive is also Provincial Route 100, meaning any traffic changes would be a provincial responsibility. Cameron admits talks with the province have produced little for cyclists.
He said he was aware of at least one accident involving a cyclist in 2019 where an individual was seriously injured. He also noted the death of a Saint John man in late May, who was injured in a hit-and-run while riding a bicycle and later died in hospital.
“It’s very difficult to encourage this mode of transportation as a health option, as an option that is good for the environment, when people are injured or even killed for doing so,” Cameron said.
READ MORE: NB cyclists continue to push for changes to the Motor Vehicle Act
For pedestrians, Cameron discussed a possible solution: a cement walkway under the end of the Douglas Avenue bridge that would allow people to travel from one side of Chesley Drive to the other without interfering with traffic. vehicles.
Cameron said he used the walkway when he was younger and lived on the west side, but said the gated entrances on both sides had been locked for several years.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure confirmed that the walkway was not intended for pedestrians, but rather for ministry staff carrying out inspections and maintenance.
“We are aware of the problem,” Mark Taylor said of the Chesley Drive street crossing issues. “We recently completed a traffic study in the area. We will continue to look at the problem and how we can best resolve it. “
Cameron calls on the province to meet its commitments in its climate action plan.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.