County looking to improve safety for walkers, joggers, and cyclists
© Lawrence Powell
Old Mill Trail is one of many parks and trails maintained by Annapolis County. The wheelchair accessible trail is located at 213 Adam Drive, South Farmington, Annapolis County. If you plan to visit Old Mill Trail, please keep our rules in mind: The trail is open from 8 a.m. until sunset; dogs are welcome, but keep them on a leash and clean up any mess; no motorized vehicles; do not leave any garbage, please pack it out; and all alcohol and drugs are prohibited. Obviously it’s great for snowshoeing.
By Heather Killen
The County of Annapolis is looking for advice on how it can make its trails and walkways safer and more user friendly for people of all ages and levels of mobility.
The county is seeking input for its Active Transportation Plan. This survey looks at how people can safely get around by walking, running, biking, and even skateboarding.
Debra Ryan, recreation manager for the county, said so far they have met with people in 10 communities, but are still looking for input from residents in all parts of the county.
“The built environment has a major influence on how people walk, run and bike, and move around in our communities,” she said. “We are looking at ongoing public policy, ways to connect folks in safe manners.”
Residents from Granville Ferry, Lequille, Cornwallis, Carleton Corner, Church Street (Bridgetown North), Nictaux, Wilmot, Melvern Square, Meadowvale, and South Farmington have been offering feedback about the safety and condition of their favorite walking areas and multi-use trails.
The county wants to know about the shortcuts, access points, trails and sidewalks people have been using and what types of things are needed to ensure these areas are safe for everyone.
People have been offering comments about the condition (or lack) of sidewalks in their communities, whether posted speed limits are appropriate, if benches and bike racks are available, and areas where wheelchairs are not accessible.
About a half dozen people attended a February 20 meeting concerning the communities of Carlton Corner and the Bridgetown North (Church Street). They expressed safety concerns along some of the most used routes.
Neil Cook, of Mountain Lea Lodge, said he has concerns about the safety of those walking along the section of Church Street where the sidewalk stops near The Meadows and runs to the Lions Club.
Poor visibility combined with speeding vehicles and the lack of sidewalks makes this stretch of road unsafe for people to walk. Cook says he would like to see a safe route for his staff and residents to follow that could also serve the greater community as a walking trail for recreation.
We are looking at ongoing public policy, ways to connect folks in safe manners. -- Deb Ryan, Annapolis County Recreation
The group suggested that extending the sidewalk, or finding a safer alternate route is a priority for the community of Bridgetown North. They would also like to see the areas along the two former rail lines better developed to provide a walking loop around town.
In Carlton Corner the stretch of road running between the End of The Line Pub and the corner intersection of the 201 was also identified as a popular, but dangerous route for cyclists and walkers.
The narrow shoulder, combined with poor visibility makes for a dangerous route. The group agreed that making this stretch of road safer should be a priority.
Deb Ryan said the county is taking the lead in improving the infrastructure and is willing to work with communities to make these routes safer and more accessible to a variety of users.
“If it were not for the Gas Tax funding, it would be unlikely we would be expanding our network of trails and pathways and creating new areas to encourage more connectivity through communities for people of all ages,” said Ryan. “The County of Annapolis and our council have been very supportive of these types of initiatives.”
One project approved in Nictaux will create a wheelchair accessible pathway linking the end of Orchard Drive to Fairview Drive. Ryan added this link will be wide and level enough to accommodate strollers, people with mobility issues, as well as walkers and cyclists.
“By linking the two subdivisions, it allows folks a better connection where they can find a shortcut to town, or to visit family and friends,” she said. “It enables people to get off the main highways and find interconnecting loops for safer walking and/or cycling.”
To offer input go to the website and fill out the on line survey which will be on line until February 28. For more information visit http://annapoliscounty.ca/