MLA questions changes to final design of Reeves Street project

Brenda Chisholm-Beaton

HALIFAX: The MLA for Inverness questioned the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) about changes to the final design of the Destination Reeves Street project.

Allan MacMaster said the advanced-green signal allowing cars to turn left onto Reynolds and Pitt Streets, that had been presented as part of the original plan, has since been removed by the provincial government.

“Everyone wants to see these changes to Reeves Street be successful,” MacMaster said. “Part of that is making sure the beautifications retain the practical need for people to be able to get to their destinations without being needlessly delayed.”

During Question Period in the Nova Scotia Legislature, MacMaster recently questioned transportation minister Lloyd Hines, who is also the MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie – as to why the turn signals were removed.

MacMaster said concerns have been raised about possible traffic delays associated with the changes to Reeves Street as lanes were reconfigured from four to three, and he indicated one factor intended to fix this was the inclusion of the flashing green left-turn signals.

“The plan presented to the town [Port Hawkesbury] and the one they voted for, included the turn signals,” he said. “With significant changes assigned to improve the look of Reeves Street, and to gain better access for pedestrians between the community college and the town, why has the government suddenly decided to remove these turn signals from the plan?”

Hines responded that the department’s safety personnel determined the turn signals weren’t necessary.

“The overall plan for those changes to Reeves Street, from our perspective, is based on public safety and the facility of transportation in that particular corridor, including the availability of pedestrian and bike lanes that are there. I’ll undertake to have a look at the left-turn signal again, to see if it is really required.

A spokesperson with the DTIR confirmed with The Reporter the Reeves Street road configuration will include dedicated left-turn lanes, sensor upgrades and crosswalk buttons at accessible heights. The lanes will be serviced by a solid green light permitting the left turn.

“Based on traffic analysis, the flashing green light was determined to not be critical for intersection operation,” Marla MacInnis said. “Upgrading the intersection and associated technology to enable a flashing green light would have significantly increased the cost of the project.”

The project’s budget is approximately $1 million and the implementation of the flashing green lights would have increased the cost by $350,000.

After November’s regular council meeting Monday night, Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, Port Hawkesbury’s mayor, said the town is not giving up hope on the advanced-greens.

“We would still like to have a conversation with NSTIR, because we really did make a motion based on a certain plan that included those permissive protective lights,” she said. “I feel like there definitely will be a desire – a willingness from NSTIR to sit down with the town just to have some conversations about this piloted phase, and to see what the best go forward could be.”