I am writing this in regards to a Letter to the Editor in the December 10 edition of The Reporter entitled “Lane reduction not suitable for industrial traffic.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, we are different from other towns and that difference is the reason we must make changes for our town to survive.
Changing from the extant four-lane to a three-lane configuration, especially with the amount of industrial traffic that we have, is necessary and the most logical step to increasing the safety aspects of traversing Reeves Street, without the construction of an expensive by-pass that nobody really wants. A by-pass is a conversation for future generations.
Today we have four lanes of through traffic, two in each direction. Every one of us has seen cars and trucks weaving in and out of lanes as soon as traffic in front slows down, or the car in front indicates a turn, especially a left turn. We all know how dangerous this practice is and we often complain about it. The speed limit on Reeves Street is also an issue. Most traffic does not adhere to the 50 kilometers per hour law. Studies indicate that activity like this has caused minimally several hundred accidents over the years. Those accidents will continue as long as Reeves Street remains like it is.
A reduction to three lanes will accomplish many things. First, the most dangerous lane changes will no longer occur because there will be no passing lane. In addition, speed will automatically be reduced to the speed of the slowest driver in front, which will most likely be the indicated speed limit of 50. Studies indicate that it will take an additional 12 seconds, one-fifth of a minute, to go from the lights at Pitt Street to the lights at Highway 4.
Except for emergency vehicles; their trip will be much faster because they will have a clear unobstructed route directly down the centre lane that with a three-lane road will be clear. They will no longer have to contend with four lanes of unpredictable traffic. This could reduce their response time by minutes.
In addition, the Destination Reeves Street studies indicate that the majority of industrial traffic is in favour of this change. The very last thing a professional truck driver wants is to have an accident. Even a small accident takes the rig off the road and could cost thousands of dollars in down time. To have a single lane of traffic – with no passing, or weaving in and out of traffic – is a bonus to that driver, especially when it does not appreciably add to his time; a mere 12 seconds.
Other bonuses include a shorter distance for pedestrians to cross the street; only three lanes instead of four, a greater distance between moving traffic and the sidewalk; from mere inches today to six feet after the reduction.
Finally, the current Destination Reeves Street Project is approved for funding as planned today. That plan includes the road diet, the facade program, the reduction of entrances/exits along the street, the Active Transportation Link to the NSCC, and other beautification initiatives. If we attempt to renegotiate the existing deal, we stand a great chance of losing it all, every bit of it. Today it is essentially a lot of free money for Port Hawkesbury. Tomorrow it could be nothing.
Today we have a deal, and that deal is a GOOD DEAL. In my opinion, and the opinion of any reasonable and rational economist, actuary or statistician, it’s better to go with what we have now and see what changes we can or need to make in the future, if any.
If anyone tries to renegotiate the deal we have now, kiss it all goodbye and we will see another deal sometime after our grandchildren have children.