Traffic Lights

MSVU student demands traffic light after almost getting hit

Students say the intersection at College Road and Bedford Highway is too dangerous to cross

Madeline Mitchell is petitioning for a traffic light because she said the crosswalk alone is too dangerous.   Bethanee Diamond

A Mount Saint Vincent University student has started a petition for a traffic light on the Bedford Highway after she was almost hit by a car.

“I had hit the (crosswalk) light and it was flashing,” said Madeline Mitchell. “And I was halfway across, and two cars had stopped on either side, when somebody decided to go around that car and proceed right through the intersection.”

The Bedford Highway has three lanes. One lane is inbound to Halifax and the other two outbound to Bedford. The middle lane becomes a left turning only lane at the traffic lights where Flamingo Road intersects with the Bedford Highway.

Mitchell started a petition in December on Change.org urging the Halifax Regional Municipality to put a traffic light at the intersection. She said within 12 hours she had over 500 signatures.

“The student body has taken it so far,” she said. “We have parents that are signing it. We have alumni who now live in Alberta who are signing it and a lot of professors are signing it.”

A MSVU professor explains why he supports Mitchell’s idea in this screengrab of the petition.

Mitchell said an alternative to the lights could be an awareness campaign focused on motorists and a need to slow down and pay more attention.

The president of the MSVU student union, Alexander Cuming, has been at the school for five years and said his experience with the crosswalk has been very consistent.

“What I find often happens is the lane in the middle won’t have someone in it right away, so you’ll start walking across because the two cars on the outside lanes will stop, but a car in the middle will fly through the intersection … less than a foot from me,” he said, adding it has happened multiple times. “So it is quite a scary situation.”

Another supporter gives their reason for signing the petition.

The idea of a traffic light at this spot has come up before.

On Oct. 2, 2007, Halifax regional council discussed the motion for a traffic light at MSVU. Some alternatives were suggested like an overpass or underpass. The end of the information report says “installation of a traffic signal, even if the university would pay, will not be approved by the Traffic Authority unless warranted.”

Mitchell uses the crosswalk while the two outer lanes of cars stop and let her cross safely.   Bethanee Diamond

Mitchell and Nikki Jamieson, student union vice-president of advocacy, both said a pedway would help pedestrian traffic, but not vehicle traffic.

“Even as a driver I’m terrified to turn left,” said Jamieson, adding she has almost been rear-ended multiple times at that intersection.

“I live in Sackville, but I’ll turn right and go all the way up to Bayview and go up through Clayton Park, just to come back to the Bedford Highway because it’s basically impossible to get out of here.”

Jamieson said she is just one of around a thousand cars that come in and out at MSVU every day.

The crosswalk where College Road intersects with the Bedford Highway.   Bethanee Diamond

“We know there have been previous inquiries,” she said. “We know there have been near misses and accidents down there and I’m just wondering how much further this has to go before something serious happens.”

Jamieson said at least one student had been hit within the past two years. She referred to the person as “someone we’re all close with,” but for privacy reasons, didn’t give other details on the person’s identity.

Gillian Batten, a communications representative for MSVU, said the university administration supports the petition and has looked at the possibility of a traffic light in the past.

MSVU is in a regional district represented by Coun. Russell Walker. He said in a phone interview Wednesday morning that he plans to talk with the school on Monday.

“I hate to say if I’m against it or for it because I’m going to do what they want me to do,” he said.

8 comments

  1. I agree – this is a very dangerous intersection for pedestrians, and for left-turning cars leaving the Mount campus. As traffic has increased, so too have the dangers.

  2. This cross walk is every bit risky for pedestrians, but also drivers. While the majority of the concern is for pedestrians, it is also important to note that turning left from the Bedford highway into the main driveway of MSVU, or turning left out of MSVU onto the Bedford highway is just as dangerous. Trying to pull onto a high density traffic area that is known for speeding is challenging, and unsafe. I have been both a pedestrian and a driver at this section of the Bedford highway, and one is not safer than the other. Installing a set of traffic lights will make it safer for all. Having to wait for a green light is worth every second if lives are saved.

  3. This is my 3rd year at Msvu and I bus every day to school on numerous occasions the walking light will be up and a car speeds right through without acknowledging pedestrians

  4. This is my fourth year taking the bus to and from MSVU and that crosswalk is nothing but safe. Every day I hit the crosswalk button and have to wait at least 5 seconds for cars to start to slow down and notice me. If I was to hit the button and begin walking, I would’ve gotten hit dozens of times already. Cars are often speeding down the Bedford Highway and don’t pay attention enough to stop. For some reason, many people seem to think that crosswalk lights are not as important as traffic lights which is why traffic lights need to be a replacement.

  5. I’m in my second year of school at the Mount and I bus in and out every day, and crossing at that crosswalk is an absolute nightmare. There’s a constant anxiety that someone won’t be paying attention and will blow through it like it’s nothing and just kill a pedestrian because they aren’t paying attention, or they just don’t care enough to stop. I have watched so many people go through well over the speed limit (which is set at 80 along that particular stretch) while the Ambers are flashing without any regard for students who are trying to cross, whether they’re still up on the sidewalk or in the crosswalk itself. It is horrifyingly dangerous and I will honestly be livid if HRM rejects this movement.

    1. The limit is 50 in front of the university. It changes just after the Chinese grocery on one side and the Joe Howe exit on the other

  6. Traffic lights are absolutely required for this crossing. I have had 20 years experience using this crosswalk, and it is *dangerous*. Cars do not stop; some do not even slow down. Some of those that do speed up again while someone is still IN the crosswalk, so they can get a “head start” on the other cars. It is dangerous and ridiculous. This is no longer a “Highway”. It is a residential throughway in increasingly populated areas. Rename the street, put up traffic lights, and remedy a situation that is only going to get worse.

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