Councillors questions about relevance of survey remain unanswered

Puslinch councillors still have concerns about the accuracy of a two-day traffic survey on local highways.

As part of the preliminary design and class environmental assessment for improvements to Highway 401, the Ministry of Transportation conducted a travel survey for those using the Highway 6 and Highway 401 corridors.

The survey’s intent is to better understand travel patterns to determine the best alignment for the proposed replacement of the existing Highway 6 South (Brock Road) interchange and to look at core-collector versus mainline lanes on Highway 401 between the Hanlon Expressway (Highway 6 North) and the proposed Highway 6 South interchange.

The letter from Jim Dowell, of McCormick Rankin, said survey participation was voluntary. They were handed out while motorists were stopped at red lights or stop signs. No personal information was collected during those surveys.

Over two days this summer about 7,000 surveys were handed out, and roughly 16% returned.

Dowell suggested that is within the expected range of 10% to 20% response for that type of exercise. He also stated a copy of the results would be provided to the township once completed.

Councillor Susan Fielding said she did not believe council’s original questions were fully answered by Dowell’s letter.

She said the township had asked about the statistical accuracy of the survey.

Fielding noted while the response rate was what McCormick Rankin had expected, she questioned how a survey during two days in the summerwould be representative of actual traffic patterns in the area.

“I don’t really feel this has answered our questions,” Fielding said.

Mayor Dennis Lever suggested once council has a chance to see the survey results, the questions will be followed up again.

Lever said he was surprised they handed out 7,000 surveys.

“It’s a lot larger than I thought,” the mayor said.

Fielding said it is indicative of the amount of traffic in the area. Lever was also surprised that 16% of the surveys were being returned.

“We need to see what the responses are,” he said.

At the same time, he agrees with Fielding the company did not respond to the municipality’s questions on how statistically accurate the survey would be, given it was handed out over two days in August.