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Falkland Street project moves to next hurdle

by Robert Hirtle

A public hearing has been slated for the Lunenburg courthouse March 23 to discuss the proposed demolition of the Esso station at 1 Falkland Street and its subsequent replacement with a combination gas bar, convenience store and drive-thru restaurant.
 LUNENBURG - Council has given the green light to allow for continuation of the process which could see a new gas bar, convenience store and drive-thru restaurant constructed at 1 Falkland Street.

 The planning advisory committee (PAC) had recommended to council that a public hearing be held on an application by Wilsons Fuels of Halifax who are asking the town to amend the land-use bylaw in order to demolish the 2,500-square-foot Esso station that currently exists on the site and replace it with a new, 1,500-square-foot structure.

 The recommendation from PAC was contingent upon the completion of a traffic study which would determine whether the proposal would provide adequate sight lines for vehicles entering and exiting the facility, as well as whether enough space would be available to prevent queued vehicles from blocking the Station Lane entrance to the fire hall.

 Last week Ken O'Brien of Atlantic Road & Traffic Management, the company who conducted the study, reported his firm's findings to council.

 Mr. O'Brien said he visited two other similar facilities operated by Wilsons in Truro and Fall River, and while both sites were "quite compact" the drive-thru lanes did not cause "any significant impact to adjacent streets."

 He said that curbing will be required along the Falkland and Lincoln Street boundaries to provide access management, something that currently does not exist on the premises.

 Mr. O'Brien indicated that Station Lane must also be widened to accommodate a left-turning lane as well as an extra-wide lane towards Falkland Street to allow for emergency vehicles to pass traffic and be unimpeded as they leave the fire station.

  With regard to stopping site distances, he said that with drivers travelling at a reasonable speed of 30 to 40 kilometres per hour, the 44 metres that are available when approaching the Lincoln Street entrance would be adequate.

 Other recommendations from the study include maintaining of low-level landscaping to avoid blocking site lines and relocating the front door of the proposed structure to give pedestrians better visibility when stepping out of the building.

 Mr. O'Brien said the town might also consider installing three or four parallel parking spaces along Station Lane to help offset a lack of on-site parking at the facility.

 "It's a very cramped site, and our marching orders from the town were to look at it and see what could be done to make it work within the realm of public safety and operational efficiency, taking due care that we don't impede the flow of emergency vehicles and emergency responders," he said. "The widening of the pavement on Station Lane will make sure that vehicles can get in without causing a concern of blocking traffic and that vehicles can get in and out of the fire hall without being impeded."

 Council has scheduled a public hearing to discuss the proposed bylaw amendments for March 23 at 6 p.m. in the Lunenburg courtroom.

posted on 03/02/10
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