More community safety zones may be on the horizon in Midland


If you are a speeder, you might want to put some extra cash in your wallet. In case.

A long-awaited report on the traffic calming policy was presented to Midland Council at a recent Committee of the Whole, exploring various options for addressing the challenges faced by residents, commuters and pedestrians who find some of the busiest streets in the city difficult to navigate.

Since 2016, the Traffic Calming Report has undergone many changes as council, city staff and the public weigh in on its revisions.

Traffic calming is the way for municipalities to reduce speed, traffic and ultimately complaints while increasing safety and efficiency along collector and local roads, especially in areas residential.

Andy Campbell, Executive Director of Infrastructure and Environment, explained what was at the heart of the need for traffic calming.

“In most cases, it’s ‘how do you change driver behavior?’ Campbell asked.

“We just heard from a resident of Fourth Street where the city has (the) calmed traffic (the most),” Campbell said of a delegation of residents made moments before, “and they still have challenges and complaints. . ”

Public comments requested for this version of the draft traffic calming policy were aimed at changing the scoring system that examined the criteria for determining whether a particular street could be considered for the policy or not. As part of the new scorecard, collector roads have been included, collisions and perspectives of vulnerable road users have been simplified, and speed and volume have been simplified.

However, some streets were still not eligible for the policy under the new system. Bayview Drive and Christine Drive failed the screening due to low volume, and Fifth Street and Victoria Street did not meet the low threshold for review. Additionally, Midland Point Road and the section of Fourth Street between Yonge Street and Hugel Avenue passed the screening, but failed at the point threshold.

The options offered in the report include expensive and obstructive measures such as speed bumps, raised intersections, curb extensions and roundabouts. More passive options for a lower cost included education, various signs, and road painting.

“We just painted a crosswalk in pretty colors that cost over $ 10,000, it has to be done all the time,” Campbell said. “Today we spent $ 5,000 in our traffic calming budget; we are proposing over $ 70,000 in next year’s budget. But that’s not for debate tonight, it’s something for you to debate when you see the budget.

Traffic moderation has been a topic of discussion among Midland councilors for some time, and one possible solution has resonated in their ranks: Community Safety Zones.

Com. Bill Gordon spoke about the angle of application of speed reduction.

“If you want the bite of being stopped for speeding to hurt a little more in the wallet, then you’re increasing the impact of that speeding ticket. It’s a pretty cheap implementation for us. These are cheap metal signs and we are declaring these sections of road – not the entire road – as community safety zones, ”Gordon said.

Com. Jim Downer hoped to establish community safety zones “the sooner the better”, while Coun. Cher Cunningham noted that many of the roads in Ward 3, such as Sunnyside and Midland Point Road, needed sidewalks, which she said is not affordable.

“Law enforcement is an integral part of it,” said Mitch Sobil, director of engineering. “If you can’t afford to apply Community Safety Zone signage, you don’t have any bites in the bark. ”

In the report, staff recommended implementing the transportation analytics company’s Streetlight Data software as a way to passively collect big data, such as cellphones and GPS, to isolate and analyze areas that had most in need of traffic calming measures.

Sobil explained that a costed option for Midland “would allow us to get the data breakdown to see what time of day the speeding tickets are occurring, so that we can possibly target the app a little better, to say. maybe the hours from 8 am to 10 am In this morning rush, speeding tends to be a bit higher at these places. And we can eventually target OPP on those.

“Probably the most important benefit for the staff is that it allows us to do our analysis much faster,” Sobil added.

Mayor Stewart Strathearn called the report a starting point, but cautioned against overuse of community safety zones.

“I hope we’re not going to put them everywhere,” Strathearn said, “because familiarity breeds contempt. ”

Council adopted the motion to adopt and direct staff to implement the revised traffic calming policy and guide. Campbell noted that further public engagement would be ahead as some areas of policy come under more scrutiny.

Later in the meeting, the counselor. Cunningham presented a notice of motion for the next council meeting that a community safety zone be implemented on Midland Point Road at or around the Portage Park bus stop in the 2021 budget cycle, and that staff come back to the board with recommendations.

The revised traffic calming policy and guide report are available in full on the council agenda on the Town of Midland website.

Council meetings are held the first and third Wednesdays of each month and can be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53 or live on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available on Rogers TV and the Town of Midland YouTube channel.


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