Safer walking and driving

It’s easy to forget what it used to be like to drive into Burns Lake for the first time.

It’s easy to forget what it used to be like to drive into Burns Lake for the first time. It was a gritty experience that didn’t pull you in to make a stop.

With phase one of the downtown revitalization complete, the town feels a lot more inviting.

It’s certainly safer for and more considerate of pedestrians. I was always amazed on first moving here that there weren’t very many official marked crosswalks. I’m trying to remember, but I think there were only two marked crosswalks in town.

With four new crosswalks, the village is a lot more pedestrian friendly. It also sends a message, even if only subliminally, that this is a place where people are crossing the street frequently enough to warrant crosswalks. That’s got to be a good message to be sending.

The new medians in town, a thorn in the sides of some, have turned out to be a non- issue so far. I’ve seen the widest of wide loads come through town and they’ve navigated the medians without missing a beat.

It looks like if a load was wide enough to require taking out the sign posts in the medians then you’d pretty much have a load wide enough to require the oncoming lane of traffic to be shut down. In other words, whenever the median signposts might be an issue, they’d be the least issue of all.

Parking, parking, parking… That’s still a kicker for some business owners. At this point, it seems the best to be hoped for is that the next phase of the revitalization will go some distance towards ameliorating the loss of the quick-and-easy streetside parking.

Some people really dislike the work done out front of the Home Hardware. I haven’t been sure what to think of it until recently.

The new curb forces drivers to really want to make the turn onto Centre Street. It also makes the rear entrance to Home Hardware seem like the more natural choice, with the front ‘entrance’ now more like an exit onto Centre.

On that front, it’s probably a good thing.

It feels inconvenient and it’s not what people are used to. Many people in Burns Lake have had a long time to get used to the way things were, but sometimes a new inconvenience isn’t a bad thing.

With traffic encouraged to travel to the rear entrance of Home Hardware, you’ve got a safer left-hand turn, I think. Drivers in either direction have a clear view of someone turning into the parking lot, or of oncoming traffic as a driver is waiting to turn in.

The way it was, you had a to make a quick left hand turn on a what was basically a blind corner – you really had no idea what was on the other side of the Home Hardware building when you made that left hand turn, and anybody coming around that corner from the east had no idea there might be someone making a turn.

Having the substantial curve at the bottom of Centre where it meets the highway does two things to users of Centre to access the highway.  It forces them to slow down, and it forces them into a position that gives the driver the clearest view possible of what’s coming around the corner from the east, and it gives oncoming westbound highway traffic the clearest view of someone merging onto the highway from Centre Street.

Both those scenarios have to be good, especially with the winter conditions we get around here.