ABERFOYLE – Chances are slim that Brock Road in Aberfoyle will ever go back to a simple two-lane roadway.
Wellington County engineer Don Kudo spoke to council on June 5 as a followup to Puslinch council’s resolution regarding Brock Road/Wellington Road 46.
The resolution requested the county reduce the number of lanes from four to two, which would allow for on-street parking on either side of Brock Road.
The request was part of council’s desire to revitalize Aberfoyle as a walkable community.
Council had also asked the county to consider reducing the lanes in the proposed roundabouts and for the prohibition of truck traffic between 7pm and 7am.
Kudo said the Puslinch letter was discussed at the Wellington County roads committee in January.
He said work on Brock Road is basically a reconstruction of the four-lane road and considered an extension of Wellington Road 46 reconstruction project from McLean Road to Highway 401 which began a few years ago. The current work is being staged over two construction seasons, he added.
The overall work will involve the section of Brock Road from McLean Road to Wellington Road 34 just north of Aberfoyle.
Kudo said the work will maintain the four-lane road with some upgrades including roundabouts where the road intersects with Gilmour Road and Wellington Road 34.
“The design is consistent with the Puslinch urban design guidelines of 2010.”
At that time there were no discussions regarding lane reductions or including on-street parking.
Kudo added none of the previous transportation studies recommended reducing the number of lanes.
In fact, he stated studies indicate traffic will continue to grow simply because the City of Guelph continues to grow.
As for prohibiting truck traffic, Kudo stated “the purpose of the county road system is to move traffic – including trucks.”
Council Ken Roth said “it seems that there is no effort being made to divert traffic to the Hanlon (Expressway), instead it appears the upgrades to Brock Road will encourage even more traffic through Morriston and Aberfoyle.”
He asked if there were any projections on traffic impacts if the bypass proceeds.
Kudo stated the transportation analysis did take into account full upgrades to the Hanlon and the Morriston bypass. “It still confirmed a need for four lanes on Brock Road,” Kudo said.
Roth added, “It just seems we continue to improve this road to accommodate more traffic through the village.”
Kudo noted part of the county’s mandate is to provide for the easier flow of traffic.
Councillor Matthew Bulmer asked about plans to widen Brock Road north from Wellington Road 34 to Maltby.
Kudo said the work is in the budget forecast, but he does not know in what year that would happen.
Bulmer anticipated the biggest impact will happen once the roadway is four lanes to Guelph.
Councillor Jessica Goyda said “It doesn’t sound as if there is any opportunity down the road even if the Morriston bypass does go through.”
Councillor John Sepulis pointed to the community of Waterdown where traffic was reduced to two lanes to make it a shoppable enclave.
“I think we’ll be missing the boat if we do not pursue that here.”
Sepulis stressed, “I really think it important we strive to have Aberfoyle as a small livable community.”
Mayor James Seeley believed a component of road studies should incorporate the needs of local citizens and direct traffic to the Hanlon Expressway.
Seeley understood there are plans “but sometimes politicians must do right by their communities.”
He said he sees no reason why traffic could not be diverted from Brock “especially since there is an arterial highway (provincial highway) less than five kilometres away and traffic is still being directed through Aberfoyle.”
Seeley also did not believe all decisions must be contingent on the Morriston bypass. “If we can make it more favourable for traffic to use the Hanlon, it would be a win for our community,” Seeley said.