Millroy: Potpourri Today

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AS REGULAR READERS will undoubtedly recall, I am not a fan of some of the changes to traffic patterns that have been foisted on us, the latest, which I have touched on before, being the right-turn lane that forces traffic to leave what was once a through lane on McNabb to now turn right onto Elmwood.

Carl Rumiel, Manager, Design & Transportation Engineering, with the city, some time ago explained to me the rationale for the change.

“From the east, we extended the three-lane configuration further to the east by dropping the westbound curb lane to a right turn only lane forcing vehicles to move right, again slowing traffic,” he told me in an email..

“It is safer to do a lane drop by making a compulsory right turn in the curb lane than by dropping the middle lane (which would become a left turn lane). The former is safer because in the latter alternative, speeds tend to be higher and it is more dangerous to be caught in a no-man’s land.”

This is in reference to how it was, where the curb lane traffic had the right of way on McNabb, with the inside lane being able to make a left turn or merge right.

Rumiel acknowledged the change has been frustrating for some motorists to get used to, but said at that point there had not been any reported accidents and it had been effective in slowing traffic through the problem area further west.

I have seen two cars use the curb lane to make a right turn onto Elmwood.

I have seen some vehicles in both the curb and inside lanes jockeying for position, those in the curb lane attempting to merge left in order to travel about 30 feet before signalling to go back into the curb lane.

If the change makes perfect sense to you, I would say you qualify as a traffic expert.
It makes no sense at all to me.

I AM BEGINNING to wonder if repairing bridges in Northern Ontario is something that really needs to be done or are they really just make-work projects.

This has been the situation from at least Sudbury to Thunder Bay for years.

We have had our share in Algoma and now we have another, the bridge to St. Joseph Island.

This was worked on pretty well all of last year, the bridge being cut down to one lane with traffic lights put in to control traffic.

I don’t know about you, but I thought the job was finished, traffic running freely over it for several months.

But I noted a few weeks back that the workers were back, traffic back to one lane.

I think some organization could make some money running a lottery in regard to when the job will be finished, nailing it down to the exact hour of a day rather than simply this year or next.

You have to wonder if anyone in government actually keeps track of what these projects are costing us taxpayers.

RENAL PATIENTS were called and given appointments for the COVID-19 Community Vaccine Hub Algoma Public Health ran in GFL Memorial Gardens last weekend.

Then they were called to cancel the appointments.

Apparently the renal clinic at Sault Area Hospital had misunderstood that it was not all renal patients who were determined to be eligible to get their second shots of the vaccine, but only those whose immune systems had been compromised because they had undergone kidney transplants.

Considering appointments had been made, I can’t see why they didn’t leave well enough alone.

After all, it would still have been getting the shots into the arms of people who could really use them. Those on dialysis and those with very low kidney function could easily fit into the immune-compromised category, since in their condition the virus could very well take them out.

But they are now lumped in with the rest of us, a four-month wait before we can get a second shot.

Watching the vaccine get into the arms of millions of Americans in a day, it is hard to accept what is happening in our country, with vaccines coming into places like the Sault in a trickle.

It hasn’t gone without notice in the community

Dr. David Fera , Algoma Ontario Health Team tri-chair, recently told Sault Area Hospital board of directors virtual meeting that local heath officials have been “taking a lot of heat” from the community for its handling of the distribution of the vaccine here.

He thinks the criticism is misguided and so do I.

It is a simple fact that APH can only put into the arms of people the number of vaccines it receives. And this number has taken a hit because of the Ontario government expanding eligibility.

As far as I am concerned, APH has done a fine job. The clinics are well-organized, people being put through quickly and efficiently.

By the time you read this, probably more than 18,000 area residents will have gotten their first shot of a vaccine.

I have no doubt that that number would have been tripled, possibly even quadrupled, if the vaccine had been available in greater quantities.

I GOT A SURPRISE this week when I purchased tickets online for the ARCH and Sault Area Hospital Foundation Lotteries and SAHF’s five-car draw.

I had found it time consuming having to type in all my information as I have been buying tickets not only for myself, but for a group of us who consider the lotteries as an investment in a good cause.

So I was going to suggest to these two groups that they update their systems so a person’s information can be kept on file.

But lo and behold, when I typed my first name in this time, up it popped. Once I clicked on it, all the rest filled in, leaving me only to type in the three-digit number on the back of my credit card.

Made my day.

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. On the subject of “traffic experts” there seems to be a concerted effort by the city to make the drive from the east end of the city to the west, or vice versa, as slow as possible. Second Line at Great Northern is way too busy so for anyone who is required to make the east west run, and who wished to use an alternate route, the “traffic experts” are making sure to fix your wagon.

    Think of the alternate routes:
    Northern Avenue, hmmm traffic moves too smoothly on that road so let’s reduce from 4 to 2 lanes. Yes, bike lanes!
    St. Georges and McNabb, another good 4 lane route. Let’s squeeze McNabb down to 2 lanes because … traffic moves too efficiently there as well.
    Albert Street, a pretty good west to east route but let’s save some money and take that silly traffic light out at Gore and replace it with a single stop sign on Albert. Oops, lots of accidents because we forgot to install that other stop sign on Gore. Perfect! Let’s fix that by installing that sign on Gore after all, but we won’t wait a year to find out that it stops the accident problem. Let’s waste a ton of money by unnecessarily narrowing Albert to one lane approaching Gore.
    Bay Street, that was way too good as a west to east route. Let’s spend multiple millions of dollars and narrow it to 2 lanes from 4. That way, in the winter when the snow crowds the curbs it will be hard to fit 2 full size vehicles side by side or when a delivery or yard maintenance truck is stopped at OLG, Bay will be reduced to one lane. Slow that traffic down so drivers will think hey maybe I’ll turn up one of these streets and visit Queenstown. Right.

    • Well, most drivers in the city speed way over the limit on many roads.
      I’ve driven down 2nd line west at 70 and have been left in the dust.
      Going 60 up Northen Ave left in the dust.
      Driving 70 on McNabb left in the dust although I caught up with that driver at every light.
      See the pattern?
      Terrible drivers in this city (verified by many who have been to many other places including me) have forced the issue.
      Speeding, weaving in traffic, no blinkers, turning left in front of cars when there is only one car to wait for. These situations, all of them within minures, ha e occurred to me on numerous trips around town for years.
      Boo Hoo. Your 20 minutes to get across town will now take 25.
      Leave earlier to wherever you are going.

  2. You can eat your words now about the gathering at Belleview Park. Charges are now being laid. I thought the Police did an excellent job of avoiding what could have been worse.
    If you would have waited for a while you could have avoided having to eat your words about that situation.

  3. Thank you for your column and your concerns.
    The traffic or transit masters are the ones that took about 50 accident to discover that an All Way Stop was a solution for Gore and Albert… instead of an larger stop sign on Albert and Andrew.
    They are still working on that bridge to the island… it makes me wonder how long will take the downtown plaza, and with the cost of materials going high to the skies… And what makes it worst, they have our wallet.
    In regard to your last point… probably is better that they hold not information at all regarding customers… then there is a lesser chance for ransom hack and some peace of mind for you.
    Take care and enjoy the sunny days ahead.

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