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Making streets safer in Hubbards, Nova Scotia

By Aviva Canada on

IN THE VILLAGE OF HUBBARDS, NOVA SCOTIA, COMMUNITY MEMBERS FEEL LIKE THEY’RE TAKING THEIR LIVES INTO THEIR HANDS EVERY TIME THEY HEAD OUT FOR A WALK.

Within a village centre of approximately 4km, the 600 residents have everything they need – a doctor’s office, library, restaurants, elementary school, grocery store, a recreation centre and more.

But one thing you won’t find throughout Hubbards is a sidewalk. This vibrant village only has a small length of sidewalk of 400 metres, leaving the majority of the village disconnected and dangerous to navigate.

“Everyone walks on the tiny shoulder of the main road, which is actually an old highway. The shoulder is often washed out in places and isn’t safe to walk on,” said Melanie McIvor. McIvor helped organize a bus route from the elementary school to the village daycare so young students like her four-year-old son wouldn’t have to trudge along the roadway every day.

In warmer weather, the busy road gets even more action as summer vacationers and visitors from across the province travel to Hubbards. Drawn to Hubbards’ summer market, beaches, marina and waterfront, some stay in vacation rentals while others enjoy a day in the picturesque coastal village. Improving road safety for everyone in Hubbards

McIvor wasn’t the only one worried about community safety. Several local citizens took to social media to document stories of close calls as they walk, cycle, and use motorized scooters on the road.

“One lovely young lady who works at the daycare has had three near-miss collisions with vehicles as she walked on the road. During two of the incidents her stroller was actually pulled from her hands with her two small children in it.” said McIvor.

Recognizing that the infrastructure needed to be updated, the community came together to create the Hubbards Streetscape Project, an initiative that aims to redesign the roadway and plan safer supporting infrastructure.

As co-chair of the initiative, McIvor wants to keep the village feel of Hubbards as the coastal fishing community evolves. “We are working with governments and making plans in a mindful manner, keeping in mind the heritage of the location we’re in,” she said.

Hubbards Streetscape has been working with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities to advocate for a sidewalk and create other active transportation possibilities.

The Streetscape Project has secured more than $58,000 in grants to hire a design firm to create a community plan for Hubbards. The plan will achieve four goals:

  • Secure investment in safe infrastructure, including a well-placed sidewalk or bike lane.
  • Eliminate policy barriers to safe streets to provide solutions that make sense for communities, not just follow provincial regulations that may not apply.
  • Place making, which involves creating a main street in the centre of Hubbards to act as a hub for residents and visitors.
  • Design guidelines to help ensure that new residential development matches local residents’ aspirations for the community’s future.

The Hubbards Streetscape Project has made considerable headway in advocating for safer infrastructure in the community. Upland Planning + Design is currently gathering community input on the plan that will ultimately be presented to their municipal and local governments.

“The idea in the end is that we’ll be able to work with all levels of government, apply for funding to make these initiatives happen, and actually improve the safety and connectivity of our community by acting on the plan developed by the planning firm based on community consultation” said McIvor.

“The wonderful thing about Hubbards is that people walk the community all the time, at all hours of the day. We want to make sure they can do that safely and enjoyably.” - Melanie McIvor, co-chair, Hubbards Streetscape Project

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice.