Drivers are slowing down at Hall and Baker not just because of the sidewalk bulb-outs but to negotiate the four-way stop.

Hall St. project changes downtown intersections

What are the three most dangerous intersections in Nelson according to ICBC? Find out here.

Four-way stops like the new one at the intersection of Baker and Hall streets can be confusing for drivers but the rules are simple, says Sgt. Dino Falcone of the Nelson Police Department.

“The first one that arrives has the right of way. If two arrive at the same time, the one on your right has the right of way.”

Falcone says three-way stops are a bit simpler because there is always one approach that has the right of way, as in the lane coming up the 300 block of Hall Street. But the steepness of that approach tends to slow people down, and that’s a good thing, he says.

“When they come up the hill, they come through cautiously. There is a new crosswalk there now too [crossing Hall on the north side of the intersection]. The engineering and design there seems to be safer now. People are getting used to it.”

City manager Kevin Cormack advises pedestrians on that crosswalk to yield to drivers coming up the hill in the winter. He describes the intersection as “improved but not ideal.”

Falcone acknowledges that at another one of Nelson’s four-way stops, drivers seem to have made up their own rule. That’s the intersection of Baker and Highway 3A, where by local custom the two streets simply take turns. But from the police’s point of view the conventional rule still applies, Falcone says.

“You can get a fine of $167 for not yielding the right of way in an intersection.”

Nelson’s most dangerous intersections

According to ICBC accident statistics the most dangerous intersection in Nelson is a two-way stop: the meeting of Granite Road and Government Road with Highway 6, where there were 45 accidents between 2009 and 2013. Next dangerous was an intersection with traffic lights: Vernon and Ward with 33 accidents, followed by the traffic lights at Front and Hall with 28, and the one-way stop at Stanley and Vernon with 22.

As for other traffic changes as a result of the Hall St. project, Cormack says he hears many positive comments from pedestrians about the bulb-outs at the intersections on Baker St. and Vernon St., and no negative comments from drivers about them.

“It is a good balance between pedestrians and vehicles,” he said.

Cormack said snow removal will be trickier especially because of the bollards (those upright metal pieces that outline the traffic flow around the bulb-outs), but crews will use bobcats and a loader as they do in some other parts of the city.

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