The Jersey barriers that recently caused concern for motorists on 3rd Street East in Meadow Lake have found a new home at Lions Park.

Recently, the city relocated some of the barriers in question to the west parking lot of Lions Park in an effort to prevent park users from parking their vehicles on the walking path.

“Beside Diamond 6 toward Diamond 2, the walking path curves a bit toward the parking lot and we lose a bit of the parking area and, as a result, people have been extending the parking area by parking their vehicles onto the walking path,” explained Regan Beck, the City of Meadow Lake’s parks and recreation manager. “That’s where we’ve placed the barriers – to the right of the narrow entrance when you’re approaching Diamonds 2, 3 and 6.”

Diamond 6 is a somewhat new diamond at Lions Park, only having been developed in the last few years.

“That diamond is getting used more frequently now,” Beck added. “Because of this, we’ve seen much more traffic congestion in that area. That’s a natural consequence, but it hasn’t been as bad as it’s been this year. In the last two years, the odd driver may have rubbed a tire up against the pathway, but it wasn’t too concerning. This year it has become much more concerning and much more noticeable, so, when we had the opportunity to use these Jersey barriers, we thought it might be the solution we’re looking for. I think it’s really working well.”

In recent weeks, Lions Park has also been much busier than usual with baseball taking place at the same time as special events such as the Meadow Lake and District Humane Society’s 20th anniversary celebration and the Meadow Lake Lions Club’s first-ever bunnock tournament.

“It’s also busy at this time of year with track and field and all the school buses coming and going from there,” Beck continued. “It’s part of an unofficial review of how we can make things flow a little better there. That’s why we’re also asking people not to park on the entranceway from Diamond 1 (Assman Field) to Diamond 6. It doesn’t allow for enough traffic flow, so we will be posting signs for that.”

The city also wants to make it known the road that connects the Meadow Lake and District Museum parking lot and the Lions Park parking lot is not to be used for parking in order to allow for two-way traffic. Meanwhile, Jersey barriers were also placed along the parking lot in front of the museum as a means of keeping visitors safe and away from the nearby ditch.

“We did have parking barricades there already, but they were small – only about six-inch cement barricades – and when we put a blade through there in the wintertime to clear the parking lot, these barricades sometimes get pushed over,” Beck said. “Some people even move them a bit when hitting them with their vehicles, and that’s quite a steep ditch there.”

In terms of aesthetics, Beck said the barriers will get a bit of a facelift to add a little colour and allow them to fit better with the natural surroundings of the park.

“We’ve reached out to Courtney Hildebrand (principal at Transition Place Education Centre) and TPEC will be painting some murals on them for us,” he noted. “I think they will look really nice.”

First and foremost, however, Beck said safety remains the city’s priority.

“Overall, people need to have consideration for other park users,” he said. “The walking path is a real feature of our community and it is used non-stop. It’s definitely something we want to take care of for years to come.”

As noted, the Jersey barriers were recently placed alongside 3rd Street East dividing the street from the adjacent walking path in that area. Concerns from motorists as well as nearby residents, however, resulted in the barriers being removed last month. Beck said a decision has yet to be made as to what alternate solution will be made to protect pedestrians in that part of town.

“We’re still looking at different options” he said. “It will need to go before council before a final decision is made. There are three different options we’re considering at this time.”

by Phil Ambroziak