CommunityCouncilTop Story

Octagon Pond to get a new island – on the street

By Mark Squibb/May 12, 2022

The Town of Paradise hopes to install a new pedestrian island at the Topsail Road Marie’s Mini Mart crosswalk near Octagon Pond.

“A set of pedestrian activated traffic signals were installed at 1682 Topsail Road in 2016 to provide a safe means for pedestrians to cross Topsail Road,” said councillor Deborah Quilty. “The Town is experiencing issues with vehicular traffic not stopping at the red signals. The town engaged an engineering consultant to review the current arrangement and to recommend improvements for both driver awareness and driver safety.”

The report by Harbour Side Traffic Consultants included a number of recommendations to improve pedestrian safety.

“Most of the recommendations are low cost, low effort and little enhancement,” said Quilty. “The report further recommends the installation of a median island pedestrian refuge and new pedestrian poles in the existing median area. This will provide the greatest enhancement for visibility and in particular, pedestrian safety.”

The construction of a pedestrian island in the middle of four lanes of traffic, along with poles, is expected to cost approximately $60,000, plus engineering fees.

“Funding has not been identified in the current budget for this expenditure,” Quilty admitted. “This item can be discussed for priority during the 2023 budget preparations during the fall of 2022.”

Quilty said in the meanwhile council can implement four recommendations at a cost of only about $10,000 using 2022 Road Maintenance funds.

Following council’s unanimous vote to accept the report and “implement the recommendations included in it as budget restrictions allow,” councillor Larry Vaters explained what those recommendations are.

“They include installing signal head signage, installing backboards on signal heads to enhance visibility, particularly in the eastbound direction, mounting the overhead signals on spring cushioned hangers to lower their head and improve visibility, and lowering the mounting height of the supplement signal head,” said Vaters. “These recommendations will have marginal enhancements, but they will be enhancements none the less, and every little bit helps when it comes to safety.”

Councillor Patrick Martin was satisfied with the recommendations — so much so that he hoped, if at possible, that the island will be installed this year rather than next.

“I’m very happy to see this report,” said Martin. “This has definitely been a very problematic area… I’m really happy that we’re going to install a pedestrian island with some extra lighting and cross walk signals, and hopefully get it done next year. I did ask at the committee meeting if funds did become available if we could possibly get something done this year. It’s very unlikely, but on the off chance that we save some money down the road, we can probably bring it back to committee and get it installed this year. Possibly.”

Deputy Mayor Kimberley Street added she was pleased with the report too.

“I’m glad that this is moving forward,” said Street. “Residents and pedestrians have had several concerns with traffic flying through that particular crosswalk, so this is good to see.”

Quilty rounded out the discussion by observing that just on her way to council that evening she had seen someone at the very crosswalk unable to cross the street because of traffic that refused to slow down.

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