Ward 3 Candidate,Winona Hutchison sent the following release to Saultonline this morning.
In 2004 the City undertook the task of trying to determine whether the request of the residents in the P-Patch, primarily those that use the intersection at Pine and Pleasant, was a viable option to put in a traffic light to allow easier access and egress to Pine Street off Pleasant Drive. Recognizing the safety and easement concerns held by the residents for years on a petition with 47 names stating the concern and request.
Today, the names on the last petition citing the same concerns and the same request has more than tripled without any effort. In fact, a resident of the P-Patch took to writing their elected representatives, concerning information they received after attending a meeting at City hall where they had learned the City had plans to build a road where a walk-way had stood for 27 years.
This plan, the Northern Avenue Corridor Improvement Plan, was overlooking the safety and traffic flow concerns of the residents in that area once again. The residents in the immediate area believe that the proposed plan will only add to the traffic issue, create unnecessary spending and the safety concerns that they have had for a number of years will increase.
Bottom line they believe that the plan will not solve the most important concern, safety of their children and guards crossing at that intersection.
Mr. Shoemaker responded, in an email, that it was he and Ms, Hupponen who brought forward the motion to look at the options for access into the P-Patch and later mentions that he was skeptical of the new improvement plan but admitted that he was not against what they were proposing, but was waiting for more information.
Since then Mr. Shoemaker has expressed his change in stance and supports 100% of the new plan in an email dated August 7, 2018. “I understand that this is a big change for the properties that neighbor the unopened road, but I have and continue to support it because I think it;’s the right fix for the P-Patch as a whole”. With this the residents in that immediate area do not feel that his perception meets the Stewardship role of City Council.
To clarify, on the ease of access alone, one resident was not satiated with the information or lack thereof provided and asked for more. Specifically, this resident, who had read the report prepared by Kresin Engineering Corporation (prepared March 2015), cited that the report concluded that traffic lights or an all way stop is not warranted at the intersection of Pine and Pleasant Drive as the intersection operates with acceptable volume to capacity ratios and levels of service for all approaches.
Herein lies the confusion, as eloquently stated by this resident in his response if “that the traffic lights or stop signs were not warranted as the intersection operates with acceptable v/c ratios and levels of services for all approaches, so then why do you wish to construct a roadway into the P/Patch to alleviate a problem at Pine and Pleasant that you have already declared multiple times does not exist?”
The cost to the new proposal can reach in excess of $600,000 opposed to the cost of the traffic light they have asked for many years and was told is too costly in the past is a mere $150,000 – $200,000 in comparison.
To the more important concern of Safety, the city recently argued against Mr. Hillsinger’s request for a pathway in lieu of a sidewalk sighting cost and safety concerns. “in the event of an adverse effect on public safety, result in liability exposure,” which on the surface is a direct contradiction of their judgements to each other for the same two factors cited, Safety and Cost.
Statistics taken from the City’s traffic studies show that the highest volume of assisted pedestrian traffic, children under the age of 12, were crossing the intersection at some of the highest traffic volumes recorded.
Therefore based on that statistical information the intersection clearly meets the Hazard definition in the Ontario Traffic Manual and Justification appears to have been satisfied to erect a light standard at the intersection which should have been the end of this story.
Residents in the area feel that a number of factors are missing in the outdated report of 2015 which seemed to propel this new plan due to various reasons for example:
– Very long stretch of road from Pine and McNabb to Northern Avenue extending past the intersection of Pine and Pleasant with drivers not adhering to traffic speeds
– School bus access to and from St. Paul ’s school at the intersection which adds to the problem of safety
– Crossing of assisted pedestrians at said intersection
– Increased number of vehicles due to the expansion and building of St. Mary’s High School
– Expanded development and enrollment of Sault College;
– New development by Mr. Pino at the corner of Great Northern Road and Second Line which will also increase traffic on Pine as drivers attempt to avoid an already congested intersection.
The resident group presents a solution which appears to be more cost effective and answers to the safety concerns at the intersection;
– Disregard the new proposal thereby leaving the existing pathways that are utilized daily by residents of the P-Patch and the residents of Mapleview Retirement Residence
– Install a traffic light at the intersection of Pine and Pleasant to alleviate safety concerns of the crossing guards, and parents. This will also answer to the ease of access for the residents as well as the school buses that have to enter and exit the school at that intersection. Further these lights can also be programmed to function at different intervals addressing the ease of traffic throughout the day
– Put Sackville Rd extension plan back on the table with adjustments which will allow the traffic generated from the business located in Industrial Court to bypass the congested intersection of Great Northern Road and Second Line. This will also help with the access to and from the new plaza being built by Mr. Pino and support a growing economy like having the extension to enter into Industrial Park off current Sackville Rd (not third line at this time due to planning difficulties of the first proposal until solutions can be met). If plans can be made to later extend access to Third Line it will only enhance the proposed project and will not constitute excess work or wasteful spending.
With the installation of the lights at the intersection it is believed that the savings alone would be approximately $450,000 of the proposed spending.
I have been working with the residents of the P-Patch towards finding a better solution than the existing proposed plan.
If you want more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and a town hall will be convened in October.