Province installs sidewalks on Charlottetown's Upton Road amid resident complaints

·3 min read
P.E.I. plans to make changes along three sections of Upton Road, located between the Maypoint Road and Upton Road roundabouts. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)
P.E.I. plans to make changes along three sections of Upton Road, located between the Maypoint Road and Upton Road roundabouts. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC - image credit)

The P.E.I. Department of Transportation and Infrastructure says it's planning to make changes to a dangerous section of road near the bypass highway in Charlottetown. But people who use the road every day say the changes don't go far enough.

Crews have been at work at three sections of Upton Road between the Maypoint Road and Upton Road roundabouts.

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The province is installing crosswalks with rapid flashing beacons on 4th Street near the Upton Road roundabout as well as on McCarville Street; the main intersection into the West Royalty Industrial Park; and at Nicholas Lane, which leads to the Nissan dealership.

It said the plan was well underway before last week, when a two-vehicle collision on the road led to a woman being sent to hospital with serious injuries.

But some Charlottetown residents said the changes don't go far enough to prevent further accidents.

"At both ends, you will not find any pedestrian walking, like zebra crossing. Neither will you find ... traffic lights," said Lokesh Purbia, who's been emailing the province about the road for over a year.

"Sometimes [a pedestrian] has to wait 15 to 20 minutes to clear the road, because it's continuous traffic both sides. Even sometimes a car which is coming from [Regis Duffy Drive] doesn't enter easily, doesn't easily merge into the main traffic."

No safe crossing for bus passengers

Wayne Thibodeau/CBC
Wayne Thibodeau/CBC

Candy Handrahan takes the bus from eastern P.E.I. into the area for work. She said passengers who stop there have no safe way to cross.

"They have to wait when they can dart across," she said. "People don't drive the speed limit there. It's very congested. It's busy. You got people coming in from Cornwall, you got people that are leaving the bypass...

"Then we come out on the south end and it's a turning lane, it's a straight lane coming through and it's just three lanes of traffic we have to get through on the bus. For the people that are trying to cross to go to work, there's no crosswalk, there's no lights, there's no nothing there."

Changes expected to be ready for next week

Stephen Yeo, chief engineer with Transportation and Infrastructure, said they've listened to the concerns.

He said the three crosswalks with rapid flashing beacons should be ready by next week, as well as landing pads for people leaving the road's active transportation path at those intersections. All these upgrades will cost about $75,000.

"There's no question for pedestrians and cyclists to get across, that will be a great improvement from a safety perspective," he said.

Further upgrades are also planned at McCarville Street that may include lights or a roundabout, but officials said that won't happen for a couple of years.

'The main concern is road safety'

Wayne Thibodeau/CBC
Wayne Thibodeau/CBC

The province had planned to extend the bypass highway across the York River connecting it with the Trans-Canada Highway. But that was scrapped in 2016 because of costs.

That project would have significantly cut the number of cars on the Upton Road, which is now about 25,000 per day.

Purbia said the crosswalks are only a half-measure, but it's the quickest way the province can make things easier for road users.

"The main concern is road safety," he said. "[If] pedestrians as well as car drivers are no longer safe, then this is a big issue for the province also."