Erin looking to create transportation master plan following council concerns about effects of growth

ERIN – Council here wants to see a green light for a transportation master plan sooner than later, considering the ongoing development in the municipality.

“It [has] become clear that we’re behind with our planning; it’s imperative that we get a move on this,” councillor Cathy Aylard said at a March 14 meeting.

Council has approved $100,000 in this year’s budget for a consolidated traffic study, but conversations between Aylard and the town’s recently-hired CAO Rob Adams became the impetus for something more involved.

“I wasn’t really after a consolidated traffic study, but a more robust plan, which would be referred to as a transportation master plan,” Aylard told the Advertiser.

Consolidating individual traffic studies will still be a part of the “much more robust” plan, which will examine the community as a whole and all the ways of getting around in it, she said.

“I think it’s really the foundation for a really safe, livable community, so the sooner we get going on it the better because we are looking at additional development plans,” said Aylard.

If a plan is realized, it would be the town’s first – and not a moment too soon for councillors.

Change is happening before our eyes, councillor Bridget Ryan said.

Indeed, it’s the overall effect development is sure to have on the town that prompted Aylard to call for action.

New development applications were coming in stating there would be no effect on traffic, she said, but studies were limited in scope without considering all development in town.

“I’m very concerned about it,” Aylard said.

Councillor John Brennan said there’s an urgency for a plan because government moves slowly.

Though they never work out as intended, Brennan said a plan still builds “a much better future than just doing it haphazardly.”

Exemplifying his point: traffic lights at the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Wellington Road 42, installed last year, still aren’t working.

Wellington County engineer Don Kudo said the lights are a joint project between Halton Region, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Erin, and the county.

The delay was because of “issues with hydro relocation and connection,” Kudo explained in an email, adding the county expects to soon get a hydro work schedule.

“It’s more complicated when you have more jurisdictions involved,” Brennan told the Advertiser.

Mayor Michael Dehn echoed Brennan’s remarks, noting the county’s involvement with the future installation of traffic signals at Wellington Road 124 and 10th Line, at Solmar’s Erin Glen subdivision.

Pine Ridge Road resident Martha Hirst happened to delegate at the March 14 meeting, asking for stop and yield signs on 10th Line to make it safer for those out walking dogs or checking the mail.

She also asked for traffic calming measures related to nearby developments, including the Erin Glen subdivision.

“It’s the Indianapolis 500,” a man from the gallery hollered.

Adams, the new CAO, is uncertain what exactly the master plan will involve this early on, and said it will take time to fully realize with strategy development, public input and involvement from multiple levels of government.

Staff will aim to remain within council’s approved $100,000 budget, but the ultimate cost, should the project be tendered out to a third party, will depend on how busy the market is (prices rise when companies don’t need the work).

“I’m trying to figure out what our next steps are … it is a high priority for council,” Adams said.

“With all the development that’s going on, it’s something that should be done.”

Following a motion from Aylard at the meeting, staff is expected to report back to council with options for “fast-tracking” the master plan, possibly in the second quarter this year.