When one crossover is all you can approve, doing it for the children is never a bad choice.
Council approved a tender to install a pedestrian crossover (PXO) at the Mundy’s Bay Public School location of Yonge Street and Sixth Street costing $78,620 awarded to CSL Group Ltd., but identifying that location and sourcing that cost became a point of discussion during a recent regular meeting.
Coun. Jonathan Main brought up the agenda item as an opportunity to encourage conversation on how the town can fund PXOs as “critical transportation infrastructures”.
“We’re looking at the PDX-style with the big arms that we see in Warminster or Hillsdale, which for Yonge Street is perfectly appropriate,” said Main. “I think that’s going to work right.”
“Speaking to a parent at Mundy’s Bay who lives on Sixth Street, I told her that we were thinking of Sixth and Yonge Street, and she was ecstatic, she said this was great.”
The Multi-Modal Transportation Master Plan (TMP) of 2019 designated 12 pedestrian improvement locations throughout town, with the 2020 capital budget allocating roughly $90,000 for three PXO installations at Yonge Street and Sixth Street, Midland Avenue and Bayshore Drive, and William Street and Donalda Street.
Each PXO was estimated to cost $30,000 based on other PXO installations in municipalities across Southern Ontario. After a deferral until the 2021 budget, the tender was sent out in May for the three locations.
Andy Campbell, executive director of environment and infrastructure, explained that due to 2016 provincial standards for the safety of pedestrians, the PDX-style crossovers were a different type of crosswalk than others in Midland.
“Those are the new standards that the Minister of Transportation has put forward; they have LED lights, you push the button and LED lights come on. You are required by law to stop for those lights versus the courtesy crossings that we have in town here, in which the motorist is not required to stop at the crossing as is with other crossings in town,” said Campbell.
The $78,620 price tag was more expensive than staff had anticipated, and upon awarding the tender to CSL Group Ltd., a choice of location for only one PXO had to be chosen.
“We don’t have money to do all three, so staff is recommending we choose the one near Mundy’s Bay School. Yonge Street is one of our busiest streets in town. Although it’s not four lanes,” Campbell clarified, “it is a four-lane width for the kids to cross with the bicycle lanes and the middle lane.”
Coun. Bill Gordon gingerly questioned why the PXO at William Street and Donalda Street wasn’t the primary choice.
“I thought that one of the catalysts for putting a crosswalk on William Street was certain litigation,” said Gordon, “that it was identified as a super hotspot. There were also some concerns that it was a truck route and a hill, and it could be problematic to try and get trucks to stop for blinking lights in the wintertime.”
Campbell responded, “Yes, we do have a legal court case against us about some issues on pedestrian incidents on William. We’d love to do them all, but right now, staff were making the recommendation to look after the schoolkids first at Mundy’s Bay.”
Gordon replied with, “Who can argue putting kids first?”
The two remaining PXO installations for William Street and Donalda Street, and Midland Avenue and Bayshore Drive, were deleted from the awarded tender. They, along with all other remaining PXOs, will be re-evaluated for costs and budget requirements as part of the 2022 budget draft process this fall.
Council meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, and can be viewed on Rogers TV cable channel 53, or through the livestream on the Rogers TV website. Archives of council meetings are available through Rogers TV and on the Town of Midland’s YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca