Tillsonburg town council is in favour of reducing the speed limit of Wilson Avenue to 40 km/h and making it a Community Safety Zone.
A comprehensive staff report, with input from the Police Services Board, was presented to council at its Sept. 14 virtual meeting to provide options, following up concerns raised by a delegation of Hickory Hills residents at the May 25 meeting.
“The options that we looked at here really came from the data that was provided by the Police Services Board, analyzing that, and seeing where the street is in relation to what it was designed for,” said Dan Locke, Manager of Public Works.
The influence of a new subdivision in the area has changed the flow of traffic since the last traffic count, said Locke, noting an increase in vehicles per hour.
“Those kinds of increases, I think, are expected as growth happens around this area.
“The concerns of the folks out there are ones that we want to address,” he added.
In the interest of creating a safer environment, Coun. Deb Gilvesy proposed a resolution that the council direct staff to install solar powered speed signs, adopt a speed limit reduction to 40 km/h and designate Wilson Avenue as a Community Safety Zone, which doubles speeding fines in the zone, with implementation in Q4 of 2020.
Coun. Chrissy Rosehart thanked Police Services Board chair Larry Scanlan and the residents of Hickory Hills for collecting data, and contacting Council with their concerns.
“I had the opportunity to go and sit with members of the Hickory Hills Residents Association for around an hour and a half during one of the busier times of day – early in the morning,” said Coun. Chris Parker. “In my 85 minutes there, 86 vehicles went through. So they have seen a significant increase in the morning and the afternoon period. It is something that needs to be addressed.”
Parker also expressed concerns about some residents of Hickory Hills who do not use the crosswalk, or the sidewalks.
“There are some safety precautions there, and some of the people are not using them,” said Parker.
Coun. Penny Esseltine said she supported the speed limit reduction, and noted from the data that about 50 per cent of the traffic currently travels less than 40 km/hr.
“I think the third option (of) ‘doing nothing’ is not an option we can consider,” said Esseltine. “I think if we can do community work with kids, in terms of traffic, that we certainly should be prepared to do it for seniors as well.”
“I also spent some time there. I was over there about five times,” said Coun. Pete Luciani. “Three of the five times I sat and watched the stop sign at Wilson and Dereham and there were more cars that went through than stopped. I lost track at 30 cars. So there is a little bit of danger that we are not addressing, dealing with the speeding.
“I do support the motion … and if the majority of the people are going 40, maybe this will give some incentive to pull some more people down closer to 40.”
Deputy Mayor Dave Beres backed up Luciani’s concern about the stop sign at Dereham Drive.
“I saw one vehicle in my roughly hour and a half come to a complete dead stop, and some went completely through the sign,” said Beres.
Regarding the speed limit, he said, “I think we’ve done the right thing here. Lowering the speed limit will be a deterrent. I believe it will work, but we still have to continue watching it closely… so it will get better and stay better, and that’s the important thing for the safety of these people.”
“I’m glad the aspect of the Community Safety Zone was introduced,” said Mayor Stephen Molnar, “because it may be the greatest attribute to changing and making behavioural modifications there.”
Molnar noted that a bylaw would need to be passed to implement the Community Safety Zone and speed limit reduction.