In the face of ongoing and mounting concerns over traffic, particularly in the Town Park and Downtown areas, Aurora Councillors are once again looking at the merits of a Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.
Following recent concerns from residents and Councillors alike over the pros and cons of traffic calming measures on Wells Street, an issue which brought out residents on both sides of the matter, Council is considering whether restoring the Committee would be a good way for Councillors to get a full picture of the situation.
Aurora hasn’t had a Traffic Safety Advisory Committee for more than a decade. Its restoration is something that has been pushed by Councillor Sandra Humfryes since she was first elected in 2010, but it received additional support this summer.
“Perhaps come budget-time in 2023 and item [could] be placed about taking a look at a Comprehensive Traffic Safety Plan for the Town Park area given the development of [Town Square] and any other future events there,” said Councillor Michael Thompson at a recent Council meeting. “Perhaps Councillor Humfryes may finally get her Traffic Advisory Committee together, [for] which she has been advocating for many, many years to look at these traffic calming issues because they seem to be getting more prevalent and perhaps we do need a committee for that.”
Councillor Humfryes agreed with this assessment, adding: “I think that is exactly what we need for an overall Traffic Safety Master Plan – maybe not just for Town Park. We can start there, but I am very happy to hear that because things are changing rapidly and instead of being reactive we can be more proactive.”
Traffic issues well beyond the Town Park area were of concern for Councillor Wendy Gaertner, who zeroed in on some complaints she had received pertaining to Henderson Drive.
“There are complaints from Bathurst all the way to the Metro [grocery store] about noise, trucks, and speed,” she said, asking staff on ways to get impacted residents to participate in providing input on what is needed in the area.
In recent months, Council members have voiced concerns over some decisions on traffic calming measures that have been approved by Council either without a study or in the face of studies where residents’ concerns have been at odds with approved traffic warrants Town staff use to determine if there is a problem in the area and what the most appropriate fixes are.
The most recent issue was the installation of two new stop signs on Wells Street, creating four-way stops where the street intersects with Connaught and Harrison Avenues.
This initiative was brought to Council’s attention by a resident who surveyed his neighbours with Town-drafted questions on whether or not these signs were needed or wanted. At the same time, however, Council members voiced reservations that these surveys were not being conducted by Town Staff themselves, while others said that the parameters on which residents are typically notified of these changes were too limited and didn’t consider the community as a whole.
Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran