Popup traffic experiment to help with pedestrian issues

By Angelica Ingram

Sept. 6 2016

Sue Shikaze is hoping that a pop-up experiment planned for the end of September will help make our community safer.

The chairwoman of Communities in Action first presented the idea to Dysart et al council at their Aug. 22 meeting with CIA member Kate Hall.

The proposal includes a traffic calming installation to be put in at the Highland Street entranceway into the Head Lake parking lot.

The site has been flagged as a problem spot for pedestrians who are trying to cross Highland Street.

“I know there are people who have had close calls with cars just travelling quickly and they don’t see them” said Shikaze.

One of the biggest challenges to be addressed with the experiment is the wide entrance into the municipal parking lot which currently measures 16 metres. It will be narrowed to six metres by placing barriers such as a temporary garden for example.

Shikaze said the width is still reflective of a typical entranceway and that by narrowing it it should result in cars slowing down to make the turn. A line defining the in and out lanes will also be created.

The temporary experiment is planned for Tuesday Sept. 27 during the day. The date was chosen as Tuesdays mark a busy day with the Haliburton County Farmers' Market.

Another part of the proposal includes putting small pylons along the paved shoulder to separate it from the traffic lanes.

“We’re thinking it will serve to slow traffic down” said Shikaze. “Really this is all about traffic calming … it’s things that you do in the environment that cue people to slow down.”

The demonstration will also include marking a sidewalk that connects from York Street to the parking lot entrance.

There will be traffic observation done while the experiment is set-up along with information on hand.

The experiment is being done in response to community consultations done by CIA said Shikaze.

“What we heard over and over is that this crossing is … a challenging spot” she said. “Why not see what impact something like this has?”

The experiment is part of a larger project through Active Neighbourhoods Canada said Shikaze with the hope of recognizing where improvements could be made.

“Hopefully what we find out is whether it makes it easier for people to cross the street” she said.

One concern is vehicles with boats will have challenges getting in and out with the narrow entrance.

Shikaze said the pop-up experiment will be clearly marked on the day of with pylons flags and signs.

The traffic calming measures will be designed by a landscape architect from Active Neighbourhoods Canada according to the CIA’s proposal.

The bigger project being done with ANC is trying to make Highland Street/County Road 21 safer from town to Whispering Pines said Shikaze.

“There’s going to more development either commercial or residential so more reason for people to go out there” she said. “People will want the option to not have to drive.”

Council approved the request to allow the pop-up experiment but said they may or may not accept the recommendations that follow.