Council addresses traffic concerns

By Angelica Ingram

Following a traffic study conducted this past summer councillors are now looking at ways to mitigate traffic at the intersection of Highland Street York Street and Cedar Avenue.

The study was conducted by William Copeland of Tranplan Associates based out of Lakefield in response to the increased traffic over the past number of years.

In conjunction with public works director Brian Nicholson the traffic study looked at two areas in town the intersection at Highland Street and York Street as well as the area in front of Baked and Battered on Highland Street.

The latter has seen a significant increase in pedestrians crossing from the Head Lake parking lot and town docks according to Copeland.

On July 28 Tranplan Associates conducted a traffic count during a “representative farmers’ market summer day” according to their report.

“Tuesdays are considered to generate the overall peak vehicular and pedestrian traffic demand outside of summer holiday weekends” it read in the report.

The results of the analysis was that a traffic signal is warranted at the Highland/York intersection during peak summer conditions when adhering to Ministry of Transportation and Transportation Association of Canada methodologies.

Due to its proximity to the Highland/York Street intersection it was recommended that a crosswalk not be installed at Highland Street and the town docks as the two intersections are only 80 metres apart. Regulations specify that pedestrian crossings must be more than 100 metres apart meaning if something were to be installed at the town docks it would have to be removed in order to install a crosswalk or traffic signal at Highland and York Street.

Copeland therefore recommended no pedestrian crossing for the Highland Street area near the town docks.

In his report to council the engineer suggested until traffic signals are installed at Highland/York Street the municipality should put a courtesy pedestrian crosswalk across Highland Street at the west approach to York Street.

Copeland recommended another traffic count be done in mid-September to get a better assessment of average traffic numbers including school traffic and some recreation traffic.

“It would be useful to collect some not-summer traffic data” he said.

Deputy-reeve Andrea Roberts questioned if this was necessary as it wouldn’t change the need for a crossing now.

“I think this is a really good solution for now” she said. “I’m thinking we should just go ahead with the crosswalk.”

Copeland said additional numbers would help the municipality determine when a traffic signal would be necessary in the long-term.

Nicholson said it also helps lay the groundwork for potential grants that may come along.