Pynn’s Brook resident frustrated by government’s lack of concern for safety

Diane Crocker
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Ron Gordon stands near his driveway in Pynn’s Brook. Residents of the local service district have to make a left turn in their driveways from a passing lane on the Trans-Canada Highway in a 100 kilometre per hour speed zone.

Ron Gordon wonders if he’s entitled to safe access to his home as well as anyone else in Newfoundland.

His frustration is palpable.

Gordon and many other residents of Pynn’s Brook, a small local service district on the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Pasadena, have to make a left-hand turn to enter their driveways when approaching from the east.

Not an uncommon occurrence for many homeowners, but in Pynn’s Brook they have to do it in a passing lane, crossing over a double yellow line.

“When you’re in a passing lane, you’re out there to pass,” Gordon said. “You’re not doing 100 (km/h). You’re doing 120 or 130. You’re passing the car doing 100. And I’m stopped in that lane,” he said.

Over the years there’s been lots of near misses, accidents and even deaths.

Gordon has been pushing for some time to have the speed limit in the area lowered from 100 km/h to 80 km/h, or to change the passing lane to a turning lane. He said speed limits have been lowered in places like Bishop’s Falls, Grand Falls-Windsor, Badger and Glenwood/Appleton, so why not Pynn’s Brook.

There have been letters and petitions, but according to Gordon no suitable answers or action.

The latest reply he got from Transportation Minister Nick McGrath in July, to a letter he sent Premier Tom Marshall in April, has Gordon very upset.

In the letter, which Gordon provided to The Western Star, McGrath outlines the rationale of the government for not lowering the speed limit saying that it’s been the department’s experience that reduced speed limits do not measurably increase safety.

“Speed limits that are artificially low are frequently ignored by drivers who travel at a speed at which they are comfortable,” reads the letter. “Accidents that occur in areas with reduced speed limits are often the result of the mix of those drivers abiding by the posted speed with a small number who continue to drive at higher speeds.”

Well Gordon has a few things to say about what he calls “stupid answers.”

“Isn’t the onus on the government if someone is speeding to stop it,” he said. “... You tell me what I’m doing when I’m out in that lane making a left turn coming to my home. Am I doing low speed or high speed?”

In the letter Gordon wrote in April he also suggested providing breaks in the double yellow lines for private driveways. But McGrath said that would not be done and the province would review and consider providing the breaks in the double yellow line at public roads when the highway is repainted next summer.

An interview was requested with McGrath, but was not provided.

Instead, the department sent an emailed statement that reiterated much of McGrath’s letter to Gordon.

“The department acknowledges that finding a long-term viable solution that will increase the safety of the residents of Pynn’s Brook while at the same time respecting the need to maintain the level of service presently provided by the TCH (Trans-Canada Highway) through the community is a challenging balancing act,” said the statement.

The statement also makes reference to the increased signage and said the work is included in a soon-to-be-awarded contract and will be completed this summer or early fall.

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Pynn, Newfoundland, Pasadena Western Star

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Recent comments

  • Brad
    August 13, 2014 - 23:25

    I have been saying that area is an accident waiting to happen for some time now. When someone dies there.....something will be done....because that is how the government works it would seem. Regardless if you should pull over to the side of the is on a hill...with cars approaching over that hill in excess of 100km/hr and you driving across the highway around 15km/hr. It is still dangerous when waiting for the clear route. A lot of people have cabins there also...many young kids swim in the area and many younger inexperienced drivers enter. It only takes one person not familiar with the location to turn into the passing lane with someone behind them not expecting them to slow down...or one of those inexperienced drivers not knowing the proper etiquette. Is it worth someone dying to prove a worthless point. Lets not wait until someone is killed to do something about it.

  • Richard
    August 13, 2014 - 16:47

    Good to see people standing up for what's right. And what's right is always safety first. It would add 18 seconds to your road trip to slow down from 100 to 80 for a 2 km stretch and allow these residents to exit or enter their properties. Build them a turning lane or slow down the traffic. Do what's right. I hope no one else gets hurt down there because of this issue. Thanks to the Western Star for writing stories on the issues local residents are dealing with.

  • Ron
    August 13, 2014 - 12:13

    This is to inform the public , every driveway in Pynn's Brook. has been there since. The. 1930's, 1949's and the 1050's. The Trans Canada Highway came through Pynn's brook in 1965. It would be nice for u to do the research on Pynn's Brook before commenting. This problem was created by the Government,not by the residents of Pynn's Brook.

  • dave
    August 12, 2014 - 15:16

    in CB is right. youre supposed to pull over to the right. the highways been there a long chose to live there.

  • Dave Turner
    August 12, 2014 - 11:03

    Should it not be the local service district responsibility to provide safe access to its residents from the Trans Canada Highway? Pynn's Brook is like all other local service districts, they provide minimal services, residents pay minimal fees but expect services that are provided by urban municipalities. These residents have built homes on the side of the highways without appropriate access to and from, which should never have been allowed and never happen again. Unfortunately the province must still allow this as there are new homes in Pynn's Brook.

  • InCB
    August 12, 2014 - 10:26

    I believe you are suppose to pull over on the right shoulder, wait for the way to be clear, then turn left across the highway. Same issue has occurred with people turning left to Pinchgut Lake off the TCH. No one knows the rules of the road...

  • Roy
    August 12, 2014 - 09:44

    He may want to check the Highway Traffic Act but I think if he is in accident trying to turn left in a passing lane, and across the yellow line, then he could be at fault.