Hopefully that’s not a sound anyone will hear as a result of the City of Meadow Lake’s recent decision to construct a temporary barricade at the approach to the west service road near Highway 4 and 7th Avenue. While the city has indeed taken the necessary precautions to inform the public of its actions in advance and to clearly mark the blockade in an attempt to increase its visibility, there’s always a possibility force of habit or reckless behaviour behind the wheel could lead to more than a few folks making a wrong turn.
This would indeed be ironic considering the primary purpose of the temporary closure is to address safety concerns, as well as to gauge what sort of impact the change has on traffic flow. If feedback is positive and the results promising, the city will permanently close the approach when the long-awaited west service road revitalization project gets underway this summer.
Perhaps “long-awaited” isn’t the best way to describe the work that will see the road not only rebuilt, but finally paved. “Long overdue” is much more apropos. For years, the poor condition of the west service road has been a thorn in the side of motorists and pedestrians alike, so the fact the city and business owners were able to come together on this deserves to be applauded.
The steepness of the approach combined with how slippery it becomes during the winter are two of the main reasons the city is contemplating its permanent elimination. There’s another matter to keep in mind, however, which currently has the potential to be equally if not more dangerous.
In spite of the fact “no parking” signs have clearly been erected alongside the west service road, it’s not uncommon to see heavy trucks and tractor trailers pulled over as their drivers frequent certain stops, particularly the McDonald’s restaurant located almost directly alongside the now barricaded approach. The size of these vehicles makes it near impossible to see around them, in turn leading other motorists to take risks as they attempt to manoeuvre their way down the stretch.
Bylaw enforcement officer Joe Hallahan does indeed issue fines to drivers who fail to adhere to the rules, and rightfully so. The city’s bylaws should be both respected and upheld, but, at the same time, these drivers are the same folks who haul to market the goods produced locally. Without them, Meadow Lake’s industry giants would cease to thrive and, as such, they should be afforded the same luxuries as anyone else who either lives here or passes through the community, even if that luxury is nothing more than a bite to eat before heading down the highway.
That’s why it’s essential the city complete the project as suggested, including the permanent closure of the aforementioned approach and the development of pull outs where heavy trucks, campers and other large vehicles can temporarily park without breaking the law. This is an important project for the city and one destined to result in a lot of positive changes. Indeed it has been long overdue, but, as they say, better late than never.