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Report: pedestrian crossing signals not warranted in Wellington North

by Olivia Rutt

KENILWORTH - According to a report, traffic signals are not required at two uncontrolled intersections in Mount Forest and Arthur, despite concerns raised by the public.

A traffic study report, prepared by interim public works director Derek McCaughan prior to his departure from the township, was brought to council for discussion on Dec. 4.  

Staff recorded pedestrian and traffic information for eight hours during peak periods in September at King and Main Streets in Mount Forest and at Conestoga and Smith Streets in Arthur.

The data did not meet the threshold derived from book 12 of the Ontario Traffic Manual.

“Neither of these intersections is near the defined warrant threshold to justify the installation of traffic signals. As such, there is no technical data to suggest either of these locations require action by council,” states the report.

McCaughan noted he took a cursory look at the pedestrian crossover conversion from school crosswalks as brought forward by the Safe Communities Wellington County delegation in May.

There are six school crosswalks in Mount Forest and Arthur. Each location has a crossing guard during morning and afternoon crossing periods while schools are in session. The conversion to pedestrian crossovers would give pedestrians the right of way over motorists at all times, stated the report.

“Given a cursory look at pedestrian and vehicles volumes at these locations, the need to provide enhanced crossing protection, particularly in off-peak periods, is not evident,” states the report.

The conversion would cost approximately $2,500 per crossing, while full traffic signals are estimated to cost $175,000. Intersection pedestrian signals, a form of traffic signal that primarily facilitates pedestrian crossing on major streets, is estimated at $35,000 to $50,000.

Mayor Andy Lennox said decisions about public safety are difficult to make.

“We all care deeply about the safety of [the] members of our community and regardless of what decision we make, we are making the decision based on the best information we have available to protect and safeguard that safety,” he said.

Councillor Dan Yake said he is concerned about the recommendation to take “no further action at this time.” He said pedestrian and vehicular safety has to be continuous.

“Something’s going to happen, somebody’s going to get hurt, killed ...” said Yake. “But I’m concerned ... we’re just not going to take any action at this time.

“I think we need to continually monitor this situation, monitor intersections, monitor roadways.”

He added it should be one of council’s top priorities.

“It just seems we’re going to put it away and put it on a shelf; we’re not going to worry about it until we get another letter of complaint or somebody gets hurt or worse,” Yake said.

Lennox said he “whole-heartedly” agrees with Yake, especially as the communities grow. He said one of council’s strategic priorities was to conduct a transportation review.

“I’m not sure we’re going to have time to get that done during this term of council,” he said.

Yake asked if the township could conduct a pilot at one school crossing.

“A test program or pilot project would certainly give us some sort of indication as to whether it’s a good idea or bad idea,” said Yake.

Lennox said staff is concerned painted lines would give children a “false sense of security” outside school crossing times.

Council received the report as information and agreed to take no further action. Councillor Sherry Burke was absent.

Council agreed to set up a strategic plan review session, which is tentatively set for Dec. 18.

At the King/ Main intersection, cars on King Street must stop and there are pedestrian crossing lines for those crossing over King Street. At the Conestoga/Smith intersection, cars on Conestoga are controlled by a stop sign. Children heading to Arthur Public School are controlled by a crossing guard in the morning and afternoon.

December 8, 2017


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