by Jacob Boon
It’s probably not the worst intersection in the municipality, but it’s got to be the most needlessly confusing.
Now the meeting points of Windsor Street, Chebucto Road and Cunard Street will be getting an overhaul, according to HRM’s recent request for proposals for designs to reroute the intersection.
Currently anyone driving on Cunard Street has to turn right and then take an impromptu left to continue “straight” onto Chebucto because of the misaligned roads. It’s an unusual detour for drivers, not to mention confusing for cyclists and pedestrians.
“The intersection of Windsor Street, Chebucto Road, and Cunard Street, with its skewed and offset configuration presents operational issues and safety concerns, and has been considered for re-alignment since the 19th Century,” reads the RFP. “In addition, with infrastructure at the end of its service life, increasing desire for active transportation and accessibility infrastructure requirements the intersection needs to be reconfigured.”
Urban planner Tristan Cleveland once called it the “quantum intersection” in an article for Spacing Magazine, because of the way drivers end up going left, right and straight at the same time.
How many accidents the skewed configuration has actually caused is more difficult to say, though the municipality is including five years worth of traffic collision data in its RFP information for any interested bidders.
At the very least, it’s an unnecessary obstacle given that there’s nothing in the way of a regular four-way intersection other than an oversized Needs parking lot that likely isn’t all that needed.
The solution to the problem could be to buy up that lot and move Chubecto to line up properly with Cunard. Other potential fixes could include a new set of traffic lights, or slapping on another roundabout.
Three design options are required by HRM from each qualified bidder, to be submitted by October 5. A final design report is expected by March of next year.