SACKVILLE, N.B. – A busy student intersection on Main Street could soon be fitted with crosswalk lights.
Discussions are under way between the Town of Sackville and Mount Allison University over the potential options for the Main Street crosswalk, which links the main area of the campus over to the meal hall.
Town engineer Dwayne Acton said this crosswalk is one of the busiest in town and it is a topic that has come up repeatedly between his staff and facilities management staff at the university during their biweekly meetings. He said both parties are hoping to find a solution to help ease the flow of traffic at that intersection and believes there is the possibility of a cost-sharing opportunity for this project.
“They’re eager to have some type of partnership to have that crosswalk safer for pedestrians and vehicle traffic,” he said.
Among the options presented is a crosswalk lighting system similar to what is used in Sackville in front of the post office, at the Main/King intersection and at the civic centre. Called an RA-5 crosswalk, it uses a push button system to get pedestrian traffic across the street.
Acton said other options discussed include: a midblock crosswalk, which would use red, green and amber lights for vehicle traffic; as well as a “don’t walk” light for pedestrians.
He said once he hears back from the university, he will present a proposal to town council for consideration.
Councillors Joyce O’Neil and Bruce Phinney both questioned why this issue has been brought to the table again after all these years. Concerns over the traffic congestion on that section of Main Street underwent review a number of times in the years after the two dining halls on campus were merged into one (in 2000) but nothing was ever done.
There was talk about 12 years ago of placing a crossing guard there but that idea was nixed at the time by the university.
O’Neil said she still thinks a crossing guard is the answer, particularly during the peak meal times.
“I just don’t think any amount of lights is going to help until the students get their cell phones out of their hands,” she said.
Councillor Andrew Black also suggested the possibility of widening the crosswalk, pointing out that more students might be more apt to cross at once if there is more room.