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Forks In The Road

This intersection near St. James Anglican Church seems to be problematic for drivers, particularly tourists, but it’s not the only one in town. – © Rene J. Roy / WRECKHOUSE PRESS INC.

PORT AUX BASQUES – Sometimes the road less travelled can prove troublesome.

For motorists – especially tourists, some of the most familiar roads in town can still cause a headache or confusion about what to do. There are a number of intersections in town that don’t lend themselves to straightforward passage.

Approaching East End Channel, drivers must navigate a yield, a curve, a stop sign and a central stop line all in a single offset three way curved intersection. While the layout of the road is certainly straightforward, the placement of the yield sign at Baird Street and Clement Crescent is set a bit too far back to allow drivers to see oncoming traffic. This unfortunately forces drivers to creep into the lane of oncoming traffic approaching from their left along Main Street East to see if it’s safe to proceed.

Another intersection that seems to have only recently become another source of frustration is located at Water Street West and Main Street East.

This one features a continuous curved right of way for drivers on Main Street, with a stop sign for drivers coming onto Main from Water Street. Unfortunately, a number of motorists making the left hand curve have reported numerous close calls with cars not stopping at the intersection, and not ceding the right of way.

As a result, drivers have taken to signaling their intention to curve left, even though it’s actually the same road and they have right of way. The intersection is ripe for a traffic collision because motorists are incorrectly assuming right of way.

Coun. Jim Lane is on the Public Works Committee. Speaking via phone interview on Friday, Apr. 30, he conceded that these intersections can certainly be confusing for someone who isn’t local.

“I grew up here, and I’m familiar with it all, so for me it’s easy to understand. But for someone who isn’t from around here, it can be easy to get lost.”

Lane agreed that the signage at Baird Street is particularly worrisome, adding, “We haven’t had too many accidents there, but most people there don’t stop there now. I’m guilty of having done it myself.”

He added, “That one is a bit of a nightmare, because you have to stop, then you have to creep out into the middle of the road to see if there’s anything coming.”

Another spot that forces motorists to creep out is Charles Head as it approaches Main Street. The large building on the corner rests tight against the sidewalk and blocks the view of oncoming traffic on Main Street.

Lane offered some advice to have such concerns dealt with.

“I would say the best thing is to write a letter to Council, and ask Public Works to address it. And when we get correspondence, we have a proper paper trail and can follow through with things better. We just dealt with another intersection in Grand Bay actually.”

The spot he is referring to is the intersection of Grand Bay Road West, Grand Bay Road and LeGrow Street, which could best be described as a Y intersection. A new yield sign has been placed for traffic turning left onto the Grand Bay West Road, but prior to that, the road markings were not as clear to follow.

Currently, as you approach that intersection from Grand Bay West Road, the stop line is about 80 feet past the posted stop sign, which causes a lot of drivers to not know where they are supposed to stop.

“It’s somewhat confusing, yes,” admits Lane. “Nobody likes change, and if you change something that people have been used to forever, then sometimes it takes a long time to get used to that too.”

A prime example is the double lane change near the RCMP station at the entrance to Grand Bay West Industrial Park. There is a right hand turning lane and a straight through lane on the left. It was put in a couple of years ago, yet it’s not uncommon to see motorists continuing straight in the turning lane.

However, with a bit of time and acclimation, the change eventually became old hat.

“Having a letter submitted to Council about issues in town helps Council perform better,” stated Lane. “When I say perform better, I mean that it would bring to our attention some things that we might not have noticed otherwise. It could give us a spark of an idea on what we might need to do. It could be something as simple as changing a sign or putting it in a different spot.”

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