The Pope Road Extension is a crucible for folks around Summerside.
It’s like you’re not really considered a resident unless you’ve put in your fair share of time there waiting to make your turn on Central Street.
This is an intersection that has been a problem since the day it was opened to traffic, and it’s time the city did something about it.
The city did do some work to the intersection several years ago that helped alleviate the more severe traffic problems that were there – but it’s time to finish the job.
The problem is that Pope Road has the largest employer in the city on it, the Summerside Tax Centre, it’s most direct route for anyone trying to get from one side of town to another and it feeds directly into the main uptown shopping district.
All these factors conspire to make it one of the busiest intersections in the city –which would be fine if it was a normal four-way intersection.
Now with the news that two new apartment complexes are being added to Pope Road, and who knows what other future developments in that still largely open area, the traffic problem is surely only going to get worse.
City Council should take up this issue again and get that intersection realigned to a proper four-way set of lights.
The worst part is that until recently there was nothing but open field on one side of Pope Road. Logically, the city would have been able to buy a small piece of that land and move the whole intersection down a few feet so it aligned with Pope Road Extension.
But there’s been recent development in that area and who knows if getting that piece of land to do the realignment is still feasible or even possible at this point.
That’s for the city to explain, but from the perspective of ordinary citizens looking at the intersection – the solution seems pretty cut and dried.
It’s not even like this isn’t something council hasn’t talked about before.
Here’s an excerpt from a Journal Pioneer end of year story with Mayor Basil Stewart in 2011.
“I would hope in 2012 we can come up with something to change the corner of Central and Pope Road Extension to a more practical situation,” Stewart said.
“Personally, I would like to see a traffic circle there . . . Council will be looking at it in the budget process and see what's the best route to take.”
That same year Councillor Cory Thomas was interviewed about plans to review the city’s official plan. As part of that story, he talked about city traffic issues and had some strong words for this intersection.
"We'd be looking at Pope Road Extension, which is a nightmare (in its present form) and there's other streets as well.”
It’s time for that intersection to be made a priority before the situation gets worse than it already is.