Getting in-sync: Shoemaker calls on City to make driving easier

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Today, Ward Three city council candidate Matthew Shoemaker proposed ideas to make Sault Ste. Marie an easier city to drive in. If elected, Shoemaker wants Council to request reports from the City Traffic Division about improving traffic light synchronization on major roads, as well as the possibility of setting traffic lights to flashing during late-night and early-morning hours.

“One of Sault Ste. Marie’s advantages is that it doesn’t have the big-city traffic of southern Ontario,” said Shoemaker. “We should not let our traffic lights unnecessarily delay drivers from getting to their destinations.”

Shoemaker notes that Queen Street and Bay Street benefit from having well-synchronized traffic lights. “Driving between the Casino and the Library is easy. The problem is that less-coordinated signals on other roads tend to create, rather than ease, traffic congestion,” said Shoemaker.

Shoemaker would like the Traffic Division to report on what would be necessary to improve traffic signal coordination on Great Northern Road, Second Line, Pine Street, McNabb and Trunk Road/Wellington. He suggests that, if a partial project were to succeed in easing traffic, then the City could examine synchronizing more lights on other roads in town.

In addition to his desire to see more synchronized traffic signals within the city, Shoemaker would also like to see traffic lights set to flashing between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

“At night and in the early morning there are far fewer cars on the road. It seems unnecessary to ask drivers to wait for long periods when there are no other cars in sight,” stated Shoemaker.

Flashing light systems are used late at night in parts of Toronto, which has far more drivers than the Sault, and much closer to home, in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Shoemaker accepts that there may be a handful of intersections in town that would need to be controlled by regular traffic lights around-the-clock, but that those intersections would be exceptions.

Additionally, Shoemaker’s proposal would in no way limit the ability of City Police to ticket people for failing to stop at lights or for speeding. “It needs to be very clear, we are not going to let people get away with breaking the law,” he said.

“The goal is to reduce the time it takes to get from point A to point B, and hopefully make for a quicker and less frustrating drive for Saultites,” concluded Shoemaker.

About Matthew Shoemaker: Matthew Shoemaker (B.A., LL.B) is a Ward Three candidate for Sault Ste. Marie city council. Shoemaker currently works as a lawyer with Wishart Law Firm. More information about his campaign is available at www.matthewshoemaker.ca.