KENILWORTH – Residents of Frederick St. West, Francis Street and Edward Street in Arthur are seeking to address local traffic and safety concerns.
On July 22, Wellington North councillors reviewed both a letter from Melissa Kooiman and a verbal presentation by Cliff Heffernan
Kooiman stated on June 19, 15 residents of Frederick St. W., Edward and Francis Streets in Arthur came together to discuss road and street safety issues in these residential areas.
Discussion included concerns about increased traffic (including commercial vehicles and farm vehicles), the lack of pedestrian friendly walkways, the increasing number of speeding vehicles and the emerging thoroughfare mentality of many drivers along with the lack of signage alerting drivers to the presence of children, dog-walkers, the elderly and adults experiencing mobility issues.
Kooiman stated several potentially serious events forced this topic to be prioritized.
During the discussion, it was mentioned that posted speed limits around Arthur are 50km/h, and in school zones the speed limit is 30km/h.
Additionally, she said concerns were raised that side streets are being used as a shortcut to the LCBO or Wellington Road 109.
Kooiman stated the group offers a number of suggestions, including installing a three-way stop sign at the corner of Frederick St. West and Edward; reducing the posted speed limit when drivers enter into the residential section of Frederick Street West; installing speed bumps and grating the pavement; and posting a school bus ahead sign at the crest of the hill.
Other suggestions include painting crosswalks and “STOP” in large letters at the corners of Edward and Francis Streets.
“At minimum we hope that a speed study can be conducted so that this issue can thoughtfully and accurately be monitored,” she said.
In the email, she stated that residents request an increased OPP presence working in partnership with the community “to ensure that these streets are safe for everyone.”
Kooiman added, “With population growth and more young families moving to Arthur, it is essential that these safety concerns be addressed so that it remains an attractive and safe place for current and future residents.”
She noted the ideas and works expressed in her letter were the combined effort of a number of neighbourhood stakeholders at the meeting.
Heffernan spoke to councillors at length as he provided a diagram and photos to illustrate the risks associated with the streetscapes.
Heffernan said residents discussing the issue have proposed an increased number of stop signs.
He noted the one stop sign in the area is located 18 feet from the intersection.
“I continually see people come up to only a rolling stop,” he said, adding a three-way stop with white marking lines would help slow traffic.
“Further down Frederick, it is like a freeway,” he said.
At the same time, he noted kids enjoy skateboarding on the road, but traffic just zooms through the area.
He said some residents have had vehicles unable to make the turns end up in the front lawn.
Heffernan pointed to other sections of road where stop signs could be installed, perhaps with the addition of speed bumps.
“Some residents wonder when the next vehicle will end up on their doorstep,” he said, adding Edward Street residents also share these traffic concerns.
With more children anticipated in the area, Heffernen wondered whether speed limits should be adjusted as well.
He stated there is a sign stating the limit is 50km/h unless otherwise posted.
While the speed near the public school was switched to 30km/h, Heffernan was uncertain how effective it was.
He said concerns are not being raised as a result of car traffic, but trucks and heavy machinery.
Heffernan cited examples of transport trucks and combines using the residential side streets, reasoning the corner at the intersection of Highway 6 and Wellington Road 109 was too tight to manoeuvre.
“My concern, and the concern of a lot of residents is this is a problem which will steadily get worse,” he said.
He presented a petition signed by residents expressing their concerns.
Heffernan agreed not everyone is in favour of speed bumps, but he suggested they would help to slow things down.
In noting a dog was killed as a result of traffic, councillor Dan Yake asked if the dog was on a leash.
Heffernan did not know.
Mayor Andy Lennox said “we do want citizens to get involved in making our community better and we do take traffic safety quite seriously.”
Lennox noted the township was in the midst of preparing a policy to deal with similar concerns raised by the public.
“Safety is really a shared responsibility. We are interested in doing our share,” he said.
He noted an OPP officer attended council that night to hear the concerns.
“We need to talk to our neighbours about this,” he said.
“Everyone recognizes there is more traffic in front of all of our houses and speed is often more than we think it should be.
“We are wrestling to make things safe, but there are certain things beyond our control.”
Lennox stressed that township reviews the roads network as a whole.
Council later directed staff to prepare a report that would allow for more discussion at a future meeting.