Nottawa crossing under used, under staffed

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Traffic and pedestrian safety continue to a theme in Nottawa with crossing guards and traffic lights on the Jan. 15 Clearview council agenda.

First, council received the 2017 annual crossing guard study prepared by senior bylaw officer Joe Paddock.

In April 2013 council approved a new School Crossing Guard Policy, with the criteria that there must be a minimum of 10 students during the time of the crossing with few safe gaps in traffic.

Council has known for years that the Nottawa crossing does not meet the criteria in terms of number of students but has maintained the service.

In a 30-minute period before and after school in November, Paddock reported only one student crossing at County Road 124 and Queen Street.

He also reported that the municipality can’t seem to fill the position, and brining in relief crossing guards is costing extra.

“Due to difficulty recruiting a [permanent] crossing guard for the Nottawa crossing, staff have had to utilize the spare crossing guards for most of the school year. The extra usage of spare crossing guards has resulted in $3,650 spent for mileage in 2017. Clearview Human Resources department has posted for a full time crossing guard for the Nottawa crossing five times, with no success,” reported Paddock.

Of eight crossings in Clearview, two do not see enough pedestrian crossings to warrant the service, according to the policy. The second one is at County Road 42 and Centre Street in Stayner, where three pedestrian crossings were recorded during the study.

Councillor Shawn Davidson said as unpopular as it may be, there will have to be a discussion about the two crossings. He suggested that the conversation be delayed until changes to the Stayner schools (with Stayner Collegiate Institute going to a Grade 7-12 school next year and Byng set to close two years later) roll out and solutions to the Nottawa traffic problems are explored further.

In the meantime, councillors asked staff to consult with the schools to make sure they are encouraging students to walk to school and use the crossing guard.

In the case of Nottawa, the feeling is that people want the service but they are not using it, perhaps because the crossing is not well located.

During a separate conversation at the Jan. 15 meeting, Deputy Mayor Barry Burton put forward a motion that council directs staff to consult with Simcoe County staff about the possible installation of traffic lights at the intersection of County Road 124 and Batteaux Road and that they explore other traffic calming solutions to reduce the excessive speeding through the village.

“Citizens are seriously concerned about speeding on County Road 124,” said Burton.

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