Be­com­ing pedes­trian friendly

Car­bon­ear ap­proves cross­walk bea­con for Pow­ell Drive, High Road South, Pond Side Road in­ter­sec­tion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

A busy Car­bon­ear in­ter­sec­tion de­scribed by some town lead­ers as “dan­ger­ous” and “treach­er­ous” will soon be­come more pedes­trian friendly.

The town will spend roughly $5,000 to pur­chase a unique so­lar­pow­ered pedes­trian cross­walk bea- con for the in­ter­sec­tion at Pow­ell Drive, High Road South and Pond Side Road.

The 12-inch (30 cen­time­tre) bea­con will be po­si­tioned in the me­dian, atop an eight-foot (2.4 me­tres) post. It will flash con­tin­u­ously around-the­clock, prompt­ing mo­torists to be mind­ful of pedes­tri­ans.

Mem­bers of coun­cil unan­i­mously en­dorsed the idea at a pub­lic meet­ing on Feb. 18, not­ing that pedes­trian traf­fic has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in the area fol­low­ing re­cent up­grades to nearby side­walks and board­walks.

Mayor Sam Slade has re­ferred to the bea­con as a “great in­vest­ment,” not­ing that the in­ter­sec­tion poses a chal­lenge for pedes­tri­ans be­cause of vis­i­bil­ity lim­i­ta­tions, ve­hi­cle speeds and the width of Pow­ell Drive.

D e pu t y M a y o r C h e s A sh de­scribed it as a “dan­ger­ous in­ter­sec­tion.”

A cross­walk was es­tab­lished at the in­ter­sec­tion sev­eral years ago, but safety con­cerns per­sisted be­cause of the high vol­ume of traf­fic along Pow­ell Drive, where the max­i­mum speed limit is 50 kilo­me­tres/hour, and the dif­fi­culty with main­tain­ing the cross­walk mark­ings on the as­phalt.

Pub­lic works di­rec­tor Brian O’Grady has been ex­plor­ing the town’s op­tions for the in­ter­sec­tion, and rec­om­mended the so­lar-pow­ered light be­cause it is roughly one- fifth the cost of a tra­di­tional bea­con that is con­nected to the power grid. There’s also no need to trench the road in or­der to in­stall power lines, and there’s no monthly power bill.

O’Grady ex­plained that LED tech­nol­ogy ( l i ght- emit­ting diodes) has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally, re­quires much less en­ergy to op­er­ate, and of­fers ex­cep­tional vis­i­bil­ity for mo­torists.

The bea­con will be among the first of its kind in the province, said O’Grady. He noted they are used in some other prov­inces, and have proven to be durable and re­li­able, even dur­ing pe­ri­ods when ex­po­sure to the sun’s en­ergy-pro­duc­ing rays are lim­ited.

O’Grady ex­pects the bea­con will be in­stalled in the coming weeks. He also con­firmed that oth­ers may be in­stalled, likely along Water Street, if it proves to be ef­fec­tive.

He said the bea­con can also be up­graded to in­clude a pedes­trian ac­ti­vated fea­ture if nec­es­sary.

Town buy­ing new back­hoe

Mean­whi l e , cou n c i l h a s au­tho­rized the pur­chase a new back­hoe/loader for the town, and a ten­der call was sched­uled to be is­sued this week.

The new piece of heavy equip­ment will re­place a nine-year-old back­hoe with some 6,100 hours of o p er­a­tion , whi c h is well be­yond the stan­dard thresh­old for re­place­ment, said O’Grady. The back­hoe un­der­went some costly re­pairs last year, and is in need of more re­pairs to the ex­ca­vat­ing boom.

The town ex­pec t s to t a ke del ivery of the new back­hoe some­time in May, at a cost of be­tween $ 90,000 and $ 100,000, said O’Grady.

I t ’ s the l at e s t s t ep i n an un­prece­dented ef fort by the town to mod­ern­ize its f leet of ve­hi­cles in a bid to re­duce main­te­nance costs, elim­i­nate the need to rent costly equip­ment dur­ing un­ex­pected break­downs, and en­sure ser­vices such as snow­clear­ing, in­fra­struc­ture main­te­nance and other ser­vices are at their best.

O’Grady said th e back­hoe “never stops,” and em­ploy­ees need to have con­fi­dence that it is re­li­able.

He ex­plained that the town re­cently re­placed three old and un­re­li­able dump trucks with two new ones, re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings to the town.

“We were throw­ing good money af­ter bad” by main­tain­ing a f leet of old ve­hi­cles, one town coun­cil lor stated dur­ing last week’s reg­u­lar meet­ing.

Back-up power for chlo­rine plant

On an­other front, town of­fi­cials are ex­plor­ing ways to en­sure that elec­tric­ity to the chlo­rine plant on Val­ley Road is not in­ter­rupted dur­ing power out­ages.

O’Grady i s sug­gest­ing the town pur­chase an 83 amp power gen­er­a­tor and in­stall auto start ca­pa­bil­i­ties on it, at an es­ti­mated cost of some $25,000.

The in­tent is to avoid boi l water or­ders, which can in­con­ve­nience res­i­dents.

Boi l or­ders are manda­tory when­ever the f low of chlo­rine into the water sys­tem is in­ter­rupted, and th­ese or­ders can only be lifted fol­low­ing tests by the pro­vin­cial government. This can some­times take sev­eral days and longer.

O’Grady said such in­ci­dents are not com­mon, and em­ploy­ees can quickly mo­bil ize with a por­ta­ble gen­er­a­tor when power out­ages oc­cur dur­ing reg­u­lar work­ing hours. How­ever, he said, re­sponse times can be longer when power out­ages oc­cur at night.

Dozens of com­mu­ni­ties in the province are on per­ma­nent boil water or­ders be­cause they do not have a chlo­ri­na­tion sys­tem.

Coun­cil is ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion on the gen­er­a­tor is­sue in the coming weeks.

Ear­lier coun­cil meet­ings

Evening meet­ings for the Car­bon­ear town coun­cil may soon be a thing of the past.

A no­tice of mo­tion was made at last week’s meet­ing, and coun­cil will vote March 5 on whether to change the start time for pub­lic coun­cil meet­ings from 7: 30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Coun­cil meets the first and third Mon­day of each month, ex­cept dur­ing the sum­mer, when meet­ings are at the call of mayor.

The 7: 30 p. m. start time has long been a tra­di­tion in Car­bon­ear, but some mem­bers of coun­cil have sug­gested a late af­ter­noon start would be more con­ve­nient, with one coun­cil­lor say­ing it was an “in­creas­ing trend” among m u n i c i p a l coun­cil s through­out the province.

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Brian O’Grady, pu­bic works di­rec­tor for the Town of Car­bon­ear, stands at the Pow­ell Drive/High Road South/Pond Side Road in­ter­sec­tion last week. The town will in­stall a so­lar-pow­ered pedes­trian bea­con at the in­ter­sec­tion in the coming weeks.

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