NEW MINAS – Cars zoom by Dan Bartie as he uses a crosswalk to cross Commercial Street in front of his New Minas home.
He pointed to the lack of white-painted crosswalk lines, a broken pedestrian sign – laying on the ground – and malfunctioning overhead lights, saying, “it’s not hard to see why.”
Road work to resurface the road began May 28 and, while a broken pedestrian sign has been righted, these faded lines will not be repainted until road work in New Minas is completed – something Bartie worries will cost those using the crosswalk.
“Our safety is clearly not a priority for the province,” he said.
“Not a matter of if, but rather when”: Bartie
The crosswalk sits at the intersection of Dow Road and Commercial Street and is used by many, including elementary students who cross the street daily to and from their bus stop.
After making calls and submissions to the local Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal office, Bartie was told no new lines would be painted and the broken sign would remain on the ground.
After a May 23 email conversation with Kings County News, a department spokesperson wrote, “staff will be taking immediate action to replace the sign,” and has since fixed both the sign and burnt out lightbulb. It also confirmed repainting of the crosswalk lines “will take place as part of [the resurfacing] project,” which the department expects to be completed by mid-summer.
But Bartie says after having driven through Kentville where he noted several cross walks with fresh-looking paint, he doesn’t feel it is enough.
“When it comes to safety, we don’t wait for another week or month. It’s not a matter of if, but rather when, one of the students gets injured,” he said.
A smooth road at expense of safety
The road work is part of a large resurfacing project that will see Highway 1 stripped and resurfaced from Kentville to Wolfville to fight against future potholes, which have become a regular problem on the road.
Bartie says he’s eager to see the pothole-ridden road become smooth but wonders what this will cost in terms of pedestrian safety.
With road work reaching New Minas in three weeks and a completion date still months away, Bartie says he spoke to the department on wanting to fix the situation himself. He alleges the department threatened legal action or fines if he tried to fix the problem himself.
“I don’t allow my children to use this crosswalk anymore. It’s unsafe, and the overhead lights don’t do enough – people don’t see them when they drive up,” he said.
“How much can it cost to paint a few short lines on the ground? It can’t be much.”
The department has not responded to a request for comment regarding the cost of painting crosswalk lines.