Kate Hobson has had serious concerns about the traffic at Second and Cedar streets for some time.
On Wednesday night, she came before the Development and Operations standing committee to express some of the concerns she has in regards to a staff recommendation to add a four-way stop near her home at Cedar and Third streets.
“I’ve seen a couple of near misses with children,” she said. “The neighbourhood functions more as a pedestrian-friendly area. We should be considering safety.”
Staff are recommending two more stop signs at the intersection of Cedar and Second Street, a result of requests submitted by residents. According to the staff report, both intersections have been evaluated in the past, but one is showing volumes to support an all-way stop now. The report states staff received a request in November 2018, inquiring about the installation of a four-way stop due to recent accidents.
Hobson raised concerns that the traffic count included in the staff report was done in August 2018, which is typically a lower-traffic time of year due to school being on break.
“I would advise that town council look at doing a count during the school season, maybe during pick-up or drop-off time,” she said.
Hobson was also skeptical of the one accident recorded by OPP over the last year at the intersection. Town staff gathered data from the Ministry of Transportation on collisions and found there was one collision between January and August of 2018, and two in 2017 at the Second and Cedar Street intersection.
“My neighbours and I would attest that there have been more than just one,” said Hobson. “I would suggest that there are a number of accidents that go unreported at that intersection.”
Hobson also mentioned that Mountain View Elementary School is only five blocks west of the intersection with only two intersections available for kids to safely cross nearby, and parts of the road are lacking proper sidewalks to aid in the safe travel of students walking to school.
“The volume of traffic makes it unsafe to do so. I’ve watched students wait for up to 10 minutes to cross and I know a lot of parents walk with their children specifically to cross there,” she said.
As there is a bus stop adjacent to the intersection, Hobson said she has watched motorists pass the bus impatiently while it is stopped to pick up residents, creating more danger. A mailbox that also is positioned near the intersection makes for a very busy and sometimes chaotic situation.
“Has that stretch been identified as missing a sidewalk either in this year’s budget or future year’s budgets?” asked Deputy Mayor Keith Hull.
“Ultimately (sidewalks) would be brought all the way to High Street,” said Brian MacDonald, director of public works and engineering. “But it’s not identified in terms of our immediate budget needs. We would not put sidewalks in in advance of the road construction.”
“As a follow up to Deputy Mayor Hull’s question, would a public awareness campaign be beneficial for us in terms of not passing the transit buses?” asked Coun. Kathy Jeffery.
“There are signs on the back of transit buses to remind drivers they’re not to pass the bus. We certainly can include a reminder or form of campaign,” said MacDonald.
The staff report states the costs for the two signs will be about $1,800.
“I can appreciate that these kind of formulaic assessments of whether or not a stop sign is required on one road or another may be confusing, but what I take away from the comments from the gallery is we need to look at traffic calming mechanisms,” said Mayor Brian Saunderson, asking if the solar-powered speed-control devices currently being rotated around town could be used in areas adjacent to schools.
MacDonald said that the four devices in use by the town are only being used during the summer months.
“Is it possible to use them while schools are in session?” asked Saunderson.
“Definitely,” responded MacDonald.
Coun. Yvonne Hamlin put forward an amended recommendation to have a further traffic count done in the area by town staff with a report to come back to council within the next six months, which was carried unanimously.
The committee also voted in favour of the recommendation to add a four-way stop at Second and Cedar Streets, which will be forwarded to the next meeting of council.