Parks

Long Lake Provincial Park’s busiest entrance has no crosswalk

Missing crosswalk worries Spryfield resident

Ruth West looks through the gate at the Schnare Street crossing, which she says is unsafe.
Ruth West looks through the gate at the Schnare Street crossing, which she says is unsafe.   Regina Peters

Several entrances to Long Lake Provincial Park either have no crosswalks or cross busy roads, which upsets one Spryfield resident.

“It doesn’t sound like an interesting story until someone gets hurt,” says Ruth West, who lives across the road from the park and visits it three to six times per week.

She considers the crossing at Schnare Street the most risky because she says it’s used the most often by residents and park visitors.

“I’ve known people take an extra 20 minutes (to get to the park) rather than cross that street,” says West, who worked for Halifax Transit as a bus driver in this neighbourhood a year ago.

The park entrance without a crosswalk.
The park entrance is without a crosswalk.   Regina Peters

Long Lake Park was established in 1980 and is about a 10-minute drive from downtown Halifax. Its lakes are the city’s backup water supply and the surrounding area is often used by hikers, joggers, dog walkers and naturalists.

Many of the trails are unmarked, but the park has been under renovation since April. New trails have been added, a parking lot was built off North West Arm Drive and a picnic area with a boat launch is being planned by the Long Lake Park Association (LLPA). The renovations were due to be finished in late summer, but according to the LLPA website they aren’t finished.

Stephen Adams, councillor for the district of Spryfield where the park is, says there are not enough pedestrians in the area to justify adding crosswalks.

“We’ll wait until the trail is finished,” says Adams. “Then we’ll reassess.”

The view from Ruth West's apartment on Old Sambro Road.
The view from Ruth West’s apartment on Old Sambro Road.   Regina Peters

Counting West, there are at least two other people who wish the renovations would go farther.

“A crosswalk at Schnare Street would be a wish of all residents who dangerously cross here all year long,” reads a comment on the LLPA website by Darren Peters on July 2. “They’ve managed to take Long Lake out of Spryfield. Always Spryfield Proud.”

LLPA volunteer Mike Garvey replied to Peters. He said that the issue “has to be taken up with the city; we have (no) control over roads, highways or crosswalks.”

Stefan Hohn, a traffic analyst for the municipality, told The Signal via email that he and his colleagues “anticipate the need for pedestrian connectivity.” However, he says “this requires a number of features which currently do not exist,” including ramps, curb cuts, crossing signals and all related wiring.

Since foot traffic is still “very minimal,” Hohn says he does not see the need for a crosswalk.

West worries that Spryfield, which has low-income neighbourhoods, is being overlooked. She finds the lack of a crosswalk insulting, saying that “it kind of says “welcome” and “f—k off” at the same time.”

Ruth West during her regular visit to Long Lake Park.
Ruth West during a regular visit to Long Lake Park.   Regina Peters