Deferral reroutes stop sign installation

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Clearview council is holding off on a bylaw that would have given final approval to the installation of new stop signs in Creemore.

Councillor Thom Paterson made a motion to defer two bylaws Monday night pending the receipt of a staff report on the matter, saying council should hear from staff before installing stop signs.

He wants to make the streets safer, not just do something out of frustration, he told The Echo.

Last month, council approved the installation of eight stop signs to create four-way stops at the intersections of Mary and George, Mary and Edward Street East, Library and Elizabeth and a three-way stop at Mary and Francis. Community safety zones were approved for Mill Street and George Street and the words ‘slow down’ were to be painted on the pavement at three entranceways to the village. The decision was in response to concerns voiced by a group of Creemore residents who are concerned about speeding and pedestrian safety in the village’s east end.

At the council table, the initiative has been spearheaded by Deputy Mayor Barry Burton, also a Creemore resident, but he was absent Monday.

“I have always wanted traffic calming in the village in general but in particular on George and Mary Street,” said Paterson.

I know that, traditionally, stop signs are not recommended either in the traffic manual or any other studies that have been done recently… You can’t control speed by having stop signs. You have to have lower speeds posted, that’s what works.”

He said a combined approach, using stop signs, reduced speed, community safety zones, better enforcement and education, promoting Creemore as a pedestrian-friendly village are needed.

“A sidewalk on George Street adjacent to the park has been a high priority for years and that would immediately solve the conflict between pedestrians and drivers,” said Paterson.

He said the process to which they reached the bylaw was problematic and staff hasn’t been involved in the decision.

“The action taken by council to present and ultimately pass the resolution was in itself problematic in that it did not include a staff recommendation and further that staff personnel were absent to hear and inform council’s deliberations. I fully expected that the bylaw, when returned would include a staff report,” wrote Paterson in a memo to council. “I note that the bylaw presented does not fully comply to council’s direction, namely it does not include the painted pavement markings, indicating some judgment as to the benefit of the measure.”

Paterson said he supported the initial plan because he knows the frustration and wanted to put on the table a direction to staff to do something at minimum.

“It is a statutory responsibility and I don’t know why staff abdicated quite frankly their responsibility because there is provincial regulation, warrants and policies in place that indicate where a stop sign should go,” said Paterson.

“The reason I want a deferral is not because I want to squash the stop signs I want to find a better solution. If no one has any better idea then put the stop signs in and we’ll see if it by some chance works. We should be more responsive to safety on our streets since we don’t have sidewalks.”

He said sidewalks should be the long-term goal.

There was opposition to the deferral.

“This decision is totally political and I don’t think we should be putting this on the backs of staff,” said Councillor Deborah Bronée. “I am not sure what we are going to expect staff to give us.”

Those in opposition to the traffic calming measures say the data doesn’t support the need.

“The data is not flawed, it’s just not what they wanted to hear,” said Councillor Robert Walker.

“The more I read up on it the less I like it,” said Councillor Connie Leishman. “Not that I liked it before because I didn’t.”

Councillor Doug Measures still has concerns about the sign at Elizabeth and Library.

Last summer, council approved the addition of two stop signs to create a three-way stop at the intersection of Queen Street East and Townley Street in Nottawa in response to community concerns about speeding. And now, Councillor Shawn Davidson said, word is out and he has received seven requests for stop signs in Stayner.

Council directed staff to report back at the Sept. 25 meeting.

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