Traffic concerns on Broadway are not a new issue for the Town of Tillsonburg
Former councillor and mayor John Armstrong and his wife Adele recently reminded Town Council the subject has come up before about traffic on the town’s main street.
In a letter to council they recalled an item in the Official Plan when they bought their home on Broadway 53 years ago that anticipated a bypass – assuming development, growth and increased traffic.
“We appear to have reached that point,” wrote the Armstrongs. “Today the number and size of trucks, and the ensuing pollution and noise, suggest it is time to reconsider the issue of traffic.
“We would like council to recognize that we do have a problem, that it needs mitigation of some sort, assuming there is something that can be done, and what we would suggest is that… the nature of the truck traffic be identified,” said John in a delegation at the August 9 council meeting. “Is it the large truck traffic from large, major companies, or is it smaller, more local firms? Is the traffic through traffic or is Tillsonburg the destination? Those are the major things to be addressed.”
Councillor Chris Rosehart asked if the Armstrongs had noticed less traffic since the loss of several industries over the last 10 years.
“No,” John replied.
“I know that you’re looking for staff to come back with mitigation and such of this, however the design of our town makes it very difficult for this,” said Councillor Chris Parker. “So if we take truck traffic off of Broadway, it makes it very difficult to move it to Quarter Town Line where we have three schools… and if you move it to Tillson Ave., there’s also a school on Tillson Ave. So it makes it very difficult to move stuff within the boundaries of the town.”
Parker asked Armstrong where he would like to see the traffic re-routed.
“The first thing is to identify the nature of the traffic, the destination of the traffic,” said Armstrong. “Once we determine that, then we can start to look at possibilities. For instance, can you re-route traffic through Ostrander (to Tillson Avenue)? The other possibility, if it’s coming from the west, then you look at something such as Culloden Road. There are other possibilities. The first identification to be made is the nature of the traffic – where does it originate? Where is it going? And once you see that then you can start to plot possibilities and I don’t think we have that information yet.”
Tillsonburg Mayor Stephen Molnar noted there is a section in the Oxford County Official Plan regarding truck traffic.
“The document speaks toward working towards a more comprehensive, long term solution relative to truck traffic and the impact that it has on the downtown commercial corridor and residential areas of the community,” said Molnar.
There is a difference between an alternate truck route and a bypass, Molnar noted.
“We as a community have lived through a Highway 3 bypass where Simcoe Street became almost a ghost town for a few years until they marginally recovered.”
Councillor Deb Gilvesy presented a resolution that a report be brought forward to council which “could include the utilization of existing infrastructure and partnering with local municipalities” and that the timeline for the report and potential project “should strive to achieve the goal as outlined in the newly adopted Community Strategic Plan.” The resolution carried.
“I think it’s been an ongoing problem since I was a child, there is no doubt,” said Gilvesy. “I remember a bypass being talked about when I was quite young. And there is no doubt that traffic needs to move from the 401 to the industrial area and we need to get it across town to do that. So I don’t think there are easy solutions. We can potentially mitigate some of the traffic.
“I think there are challenges, but I think moving forward hopefully something can be done to mitigate or alleviate the stress on Broadway.”
“Will council have any say in this?” asked Rosehart. “When the Strategic Plan is done I’m assuming that council will have an opportunity to comment on it as well?”
“Any and all decision making will rest with this body,” said Molnar. “So you can rest assured of that Councillor Rosehart.
“A lot of this information is already available – the County of Oxford Master Transportation Plan, work that our own engineering department’s done, etc. Traffic counts… A lot of that information is there and as Councillor Gilvesy indicated it’s not a new thing.”