Mixed reaction to county response to traffic issues

Cobden -- Renfrew County’s Operations Committee has reviewed Whitewater Region’s recommendations for dealing with pedestrian safety on County Road 61 (Godfrey Road/Haley Road) in Haley Station and has determined traffic numbers do not warrant an all-way stop at the intersection of the county road and the municipality’s Firehall Lane.

Public Works Manager Lane Cleroux presented the county’s response to council at its February 7 meeting. Four peak-hour traffic counts conducted by ounty staff in October of 2023 indicated total counts of 158, 78, 67 and 150 vehicles and pedestrians combined.

“In order for an all-way stop to be warranted as per Ontario Traffic Manual Book 5, all four of the peak hours would require volumes in excess of 250 vehicles and pedestrians combined,” said the report.

A Haley resident, a mother of two young children, who had described some of the issues to the September 20, 2023 meeting of council, had named speeding along Haley Road and Godfrey Road among a number of pedestrian safety concerns.

As possible solutions, she had proposed a permanent speed radar system at all three entry points into the community; additional and more prominent speed limit signs, a camera-enforced radar system along Haley and Godfrey Roads, flashing lights at the intersection of Haley Road and Godfrey Road or a four-way stop with red flashing lights there, an increased OPP presence, a decreased speed limit of 40 km/h on Haley, Godfrey and Calvin, a Community Safety Zone to double speeding fines, and speed bumps along Haley and Godfrey Road. She had also asked for school bus stop signs and sidewalks on at least one side of the road to allow for safe walking/ biking.

Alternative options for traffic calming presented by Lee Perkins, Director of Public Works and Engineering of the County of Renfrew, include closing the entrance onto Haley Road at the intersection of Highway 17; reverting Haley Road to gravel surface; narrowing Haley Road using road paint; introducing a chicane (narrowing) on Haley Road; installing speed bumps/humps on the township section of Haley Road, and adding rumble strips on the township section of Haley Road, all of which would be township responsibility.

Other options would be implementing digital speed signs and applying permanent road paint, indicating 60 km/hr maximum speed, which would also be township responsibility but with 50/50 shared costs on the county portion.

The report said that a hanging intersection light is not warranted and would require a cost share agreement with the township. A roundabout intersection could be considered.

“Township staff are recommending continuing to monitor speeding within Haley Station with radar signs and traffic counters and provide the results to the local Ontario Provincial Police detachment for future enforcement,” Mr. Cleroux said.

He noted the permanent road paint, indicating 60 km/hr. maximum speed, would be a low-cost solution.

Councillor Mike Moore said he is happy to have this report.

“We have a base now of what the numbers are and what the traffic situation is like,” he said. “We will continue to monitor it after the road pavement is painted. It’s a great starting point.”

Councillor Connie Tabbert said she is very disappointed in the county.

“I realize they have to go by the numbers, but I think the safety of our children is being neglected,” she said.

“Point taken,” said Mayor Neil Nicholson. “A number of suggestions have been offered to control speeds, but the stop sign was the one that jumped out at us.”

Mr. Cleroux said the cost of the pavement painting can be included in the 2024 budget.

Council moved to accept the report.

Marie Zettler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader