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Traffic lights are back at intersection of Starrs Road and Brunswick Street in Yarmouth

Traffic lights were installed again at the intersection of Starrs Road and Brunswick Street in Yarmouth in mid-April.
Traffic lights were installed again at the intersection of Starrs Road and Brunswick Street in Yarmouth in mid-April.

YARMOUTH, N.S. – New traffic lights have been installed at the intersection of Starrs Road and Brunswick Street in Yarmouth, but in the week since their installation it was still stop and go traffic. 

The lights were installed around April 13. As of the morning of April 20 they were still flashing red on all sides therefore motorists have been treating the lights like the stop signs that were there before.

The Vanguard has asked the town when the lights will be operational. We were told by the town the morning of April 20 that the contractor has some additional work to complete the installation to make the lights fully operational.

"He is waiting on a part from his supplier which should be couriered to him as soon as possible," said town engineer Dave Ernst.

With these lights, Starrs Road now has 9 sets of traffic lights, although not all sets – including this new set – change from green to red on timed intervals.

The lights that cross Starrs Road at the start/end of the Maud Lewis Trail (near Subway), for instance, remain green for Starrs Road unless a pedestrian activates the light for them to turn red. The intention of these lights is not traffic management, but rather to allow people to safely cross the street.

There are other sets of lights on Starrs Road are sensor activated by traffic.

Vehicles move through the intersection at Starrs Road and Brunswick Street when it was controlled by stop signs instead of traffic lights.

The intention of the new lights at the intersection of Starrs Road and Brunswick Street is to keep traffic flowing on Starrs Road. The lights will remain green for vehicles traveling on Starrs Road until they are activated to change by approaching vehicles on Brunswick Street. The lights will not turn red on Starrs Road when there is no traffic present on Brunswick Street.

Judging by comments on social media, however, not everyone is happy to see the intersection revert back to a traffic light intersection. Many people felt the stop signs at the intersection worked fine and installing traffic lights was an unnecessary expense.

Most people refer to the intersection as a four-way stop, and the stop signs themselves had indicated this as well, although with turning lanes there are eight lanes of traffic that converge at that intersection.

Others on social media have talked about near misses and think the traffic lights will be safer.

When discussions were held around the council table last year about reinstalling lights at this intersection, not everyone around the council table, including the mayor, felt the lights were needed as some on council thought traffic flowed through the intersection well with the stop signs.

But two traffic reports prepared for the town determined a “four-way stop” was detrimental to the overall traffic movement on Starrs Road since traffic volumes on Starrs Road and Brunswick Street are disproportionate. Given the eight lanes that converge at the intersection safety was another consideration.

The intersection was changed from traffic lights to stop signs a couple of years ago after the lights there stopped working (again) and new parts were difficult to source. Rather than repair the existing  lights, the town opted to see how stop signs would work there instead.

On Nov. 24 of last year, Yarmouth town council approved a tender for the installation of traffic lights at this intersection. According to council minutes the tender for installation was awarded to Black and MacDonald Ltd. in the amount of $188,843 plus HST.

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