Sylvia McGillivray likes to take her little dog Murphy for a walk, when weather permits.
With only a short stretch of sidewalk available along one side of the road near her home in Central Onslow, however, she prefers to cross over and access Tidal Bore Road, on the north side of Salmon River. As a dead-end road with few residences and little traffic, she can let her dog off leash and stroll safely along with peace of mind.
But getting across the road, an often busy thoroughfare where drivers don’t necessarily heed the 50-km/h speed limit, can be another matter.
And like others in her close-knit community, McGillivray wants to see a crosswalk painted on the road, along with signage and flashing lights to warn motorists that pedestrians may be present.
“It’s dangerous,” she said. “I’m pretty capable now but there, a year ago, I had a hip broke, so you had to be pretty darned careful getting across here, if you can’t run.”
McGillivray lives in Gemstone Townhouses seniors’ complex, located diagonally across the highway from the entrance to Tidal Bore Road. While she can once again run a bit if she has to, fellow seniors who use a cane can’t.
“Another thing I find dangerous here is, there are some very courteous drivers and you are waiting to get across and they will come around that turn and stop to let you get across.”
That’s where McGillivray feels flashing lights and advance signage warning of a pedestrian crossing would be beneficial should a crosswalk be approved.
McGillivray is one of 15 residents who signed a petition recently sent to Colchester County Council requesting a crosswalk for the area.
That petition was started by Gemstone Townhouse owner Marianne Cullip who also feels traffic speed and visibility pose safety concerns for pedestrians wanting to cross the road.
“We would like to have some kind of a sign or a signal or, really, a crosswalk for people to cross,” Cullip said.
“The Tidal Bore Road is just a natural place for people to walk, where it is a dead end,” she said. “It’s all independent living so we encourage people to be out and be active.”
McGillivray added residents from the complex are hoping to start a walking club this year, which could increase the numbers of seniors crossing the road. And the flow could become greater, if municipal plans to build a pedestrian bridge across Cobequid Bay become reality.
“It would be a benefit for us to connect our people to the pedestrian bridge,” Cullip said.
After submitting her request to the county, Cullip received a response from Public Works director Michelle Newell stating the request for a crosswalk has been forwarded to the province’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
“That is the next step, so I’m waiting to hear back from them,” Newell wrote. “They will either say yes, and specify the types of signals they might require (lights, signs, etc.) or they will say no based on the traffic counts and the turn in the road at that location. It’s a waiting game now.”