Numbers sent from the City of Sault Ste. Marie to Tulloch Engineering Inc. to justify the movement of the transit terminals don’t tell the full story.
The numbers used to count the traffic movement at the corner of Huron Street and Queen Street were done September 20, 2017, when Bay Street was 4 lanes wide.
The numbers used to count the traffic at the corner of Huron and Bay Street W. were completed in the middle of a pandemic Friday November 27, 2020.
These numbers don’t reflect what traffic would be with a fully functioning international bridge which saw over 1.3 million vehicles use it in 2019. Those vehicles are now forced to negotiate the two-lane Bay Street when the borders re-open.
The report dated January 7, 2021 states “The City provided traffic turning movement counts at the intersections of Huron Street at Queen Street West and Bay Street West at Huron Street. Considered to reflect existing conditions.”
Under the section called other issues Tulloch notes there is effectively 4 separate intersections within 30 meters of the proposed south entrance, they proposed a solution.
“While results indicate there will not be a future problem with the terminal relocation to this site, we did briefly examine the potential to simplify this intersection configuration by eliminating one or more of the ramps,” says the report. “For example, the possibility of making the intersection a normal T-intersection with much tighter geometry.”
The note they understand the current reasoning for leaving the intersection the way it is. However projected costs of converting the intersection have yet to be mentioned by the city.
Another reason given is the safety of passengers and staff at the current location. If you read any of the multiple social media pages which help mark crime in our city, moving this station west most likely will not help alleviate that concern.
The other issue which has had little discussion by the city is the Hub Trail. The link from the waterfront to the rest of the network currently runs directly through the Huron and Bay corridor.
Some serious outstanding questions need to be addressed.
Is it still safe to ask the hundreds of people who use the trail everyday to have to negotiate not only the daily traffic but also increased bus traffic?
As a cyclist, would you rather use the new bike lanes on Bay Street or stay on the riverfront, if you had this many proposed busses going past you in a small stretch?
The final question no one seems to be answering is, why now?
Why is the city in such a hurry to move to this property?
Will this decision be made behind closed doors ( like Hudson street ) and just go to council for a rubber stamp, regardless of the input citizens have put in?
Is there someone waiting in the wings that wants the property on Queen street for say… condominiums with a great view?
Only time will tell.
Stay with Saultonline for further developments on this issue. The full traffic study can be seen below.