Nova Scotia

Wolfville's rainbow crosswalk a safety hazard, province says

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says the Main Street design doesn't conform with provincial or national standards.

Mayor Jeff Cantwell says town will come up with another way to reflect LGBT community

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal sent a letter to the town that says drivers may not recognize the crosswalk's non-white markings or see them at night. (Submitted by Robyn McMillan)

The Wolfville rainbow crosswalk's days are numbered because the province says the coloured road lines are a safety hazard.

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal sent a letter to the town saying the Main Street design doesn't conform with provincial or national standards.

Mayor Jeff Cantwell says the town plans to repaint the lines white this year and come up with another way to reflect a rainbow design in the community. 

The provincial department's letter says the crosswalk's non-white markings may not be recognized or show up properly at night.

Paint faded fast

"The uniformity and consistency of these devices is important so that drivers see the same messages no matter where they drive," the letter said. 

There are crosswalk lights above the crossing but Cantwell says the town has to follow the guidelines.

"I think it's the safest place in town to have it personally," he said. "It's the narrowest part of Main Street, the busiest part. Cars, the most they can do there is 20 kilometres an hour, you can walk almost as fast."

The crosswalk sits Main Street and Linden Avenue and the town's mayor says it appeared much brighter when it was first painted just a few months ago. (Ramona Jennex/Twitter)

The real problem is the crosswalk has already faded and it would likely get worse over the winter months anyway, Cantwell says. 

"It's a maintenance nightmare trying to keep it looking fresh."

He hopes to get input from local community groups for ways to replace the crosswalk.

Open to suggestions

He says ideas so far include setting up a rainbow banner, creating another type of LGBTQ display or painting a section of street similar to Argyle Street in Halifax, which has encountered fading problems of its own.

"All of council appears to be onside with finding something that will last a little bit longer, look a little bit brighter and be more sustainable," he said.

The mayor also isn't ruling out resurrecting the crosswalk with more durable road paint and putting a rainbow design in between parallel white lines spanning the road, either.

"It's going to come back, in some fashion," he said.

Wolfville's town council will vote on repainting the crosswalk and finding an alternative way of recognizing the LGBTQ community at an Oct. 20 meeting. 

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