• Hunter Cresswell

Chelsea group calls for safer roads

A Chelsea residents association is calling for more and better crosswalk signage in the centre village in a new report.


The Chelsea Ward 2 Residents Association and Chelsea SAFE conducted its own study of 20 crosswalks along Old Chelsea Road, Kingsmere Road near Old Chelsea, Scott Road, and part of Hwy 105 and found problems with most of them.


Association founder and administrator Jacques Michaud said the group began working on the study – which consisted of walking the roads, documenting the features of each crossing, and taking photos of the crosswalks – in response to the increased residential and construction traffic in the centre village due to new developments.


“We tried to identify quick fixes that can be done without spending much money,” Michaud said.


From left: Chelsea Ward 2 councillor Dominic Labrie, Chelsea SAFE founder Andy Ball, and Ward 2 Residents Association administrators Jacques Michaud, and Linda Hewitt-Landry outside of Chelsea town hall point to a snowbank near a crosswalk that hinders walkability. SAFE and the residents association recently published a study of crosswalks in the centre village. Photo courtesy Jacques Michaud
From left: Chelsea Ward 2 councillor Dominic Labrie, Chelsea SAFE founder Andy Ball, and Ward 2 Residents Association administrators Jacques Michaud, and Linda Hewitt-Landry outside of Chelsea town hall point to a snowbank near a crosswalk that hinders walkability. SAFE and the residents association recently published a study of crosswalks in the centre village. Photo courtesy Jacques Michaud

According to the report, 11 crossings are missing paint or the paint is peeling, nine only have signage for oncoming drivers, eight don’t have triangular yield signs, another eight are awkwardly placed for pedestrians to cross. Another six crosswalk signs aren’t close enough to the crossing to easily see while driving, while another five signs are hidden. The report documents more problem areas.


“Everytime we tried to cross, people weren’t stopping,” Michaud said.


He argues that making the crossings more obvious would make pedestrians much safer.

Michaud also noticed multiple crossings that had snow banks that had to be circumvented or trudged through.


The association’s study is separate from the traffic and parking study that Chelsea hired a professional firm to conduct. By Michaud’s own omission, his study isn’t scientific, only observational.


“I’m not a transport expert but I’m a driver and pedestrian like everybody else,” he said.

Ward 2 councillor Dominic Labrie promised to improve crossings in his ward during his campaign.


“This is the first step,” he said about the association’s study.


The next step, Labrie said, is tabling the document at a council meeting so other councillors can read and discuss it before making changes.


“We have to improve. Not just for traffic, but for pedestrians and cyclists,” he said.


Both Labrie and Mayor Pierre Guénard expressed appreciation for the association’s dedication and work. Both said they want safer streets and sidewalks for motorized and non-motorized transport.


But Old Chelsea Road belongs to the Ministère des Transports du Québec which adds an extra layer of provincial bureaucracy to the process of fixing the road, said Guénard.


“Everytime we want to make an adjustment we have to ask and wait for the MTQ,” he said.

Guénard added that all signs conform with the MTQ’s requirements but Chelsea wants to go above and beyond those by adding crosswalk signs that face both ways on either side of the road.


“We are trying to implement that for every crossing,” Guénard said.


The Ward 2 Residents Association was created by ward residents Johanne Deschamps, Jacques Michaud, and Linda Hewitt-Landry during the fall 2021 municipal election. It previously hosted an in-person debate between the Ward 2 candidates. The association’s Facebook group has 164 members.


To find out more about the association join the “Association des résidentEs du district 2-Ward 2 Residents Association” Facebook group.


Chelsea SAFE is a pro-active transport Facebook group founded by Chelsea resident Andy Ball.


To find out more about the group join the “SAFE Chelsea Quebec” Facebook group.


The report – which is in French only – has been shared in full on the association’s Facebook page and other local social media groups such as Chelsea Folks and Chelsea SAFE.