Peterborough County councillors want traffic signals installed by the city at the intersection of Woodland Drive and Water Street in the city’s north end without any further delay.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Sherry Senis, deputy mayor of Selwyn Township at county council’s regular meeting this week.
Council decided to direct staff to send a letter to the city “formally requesting a timeline and stressing the importance for the installation of traffic signals ... as soon as possible.”
Officials with the city and Trent University met recently to discuss studies needed to get lights installed but no timeline has been set. Safety would be improved if there were traffic signals, according to the university.
Senis said Selwyn Township contacted the city two years ago requesting signals at the intersection.
“It was my understanding that the signalization was going to take place this year, but we heard from Trent University that the city is delaying signalization at least another year,” Senis said.
“The township sent in their request by letter to get a timeline two years ago and still we wait.
“This intersection is already very busy with long queues of traffic trying to empty onto our county road, not to mention the construction that is going to start taking place when Trent begins to construct their seniors’ village and long-term care home.”
She asked county council to support the university and Selwyn Township by “strongly suggesting” to the city that it install the signals as soon as possible.
“It also has an impact on emergency responses,” said Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones “Let’s not forget that. It’s jammed there are a lot of times.”
A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to Julie Davis, vice-president of external relations and advancement at Trent University and to Selwyn Township council.
“Trent is engaged with the city on a variety of short and long-term solutions to transportation and traffic issues around the Symons Campus,” Trent’s communications department wrote in a statement to The Examiner.
“With continued growth in student enrolment, increased housing, and greater traffic volume overall in the north-end of the city, the addition of traffic signals at the intersection at Water Street and Woodland Drive will be key to improving safety for the campus and local community.
“City staff recently met with Trent to discuss studies and timing around the addition of traffic lights in this location and we will continue to provide whatever information and support the city requires to move this project forward.”
Brendan Wedley, manager of communications for the city, was also unavailable for comment.
The corner has gotten busier in recent years after Trent University opened up some of its lands for development, resulting in the Summer Lane townhouse subdivision. A new apartment building is being built and a commercial plaza is planned for the corner. Trent also has long-term plans to have an operator develop a proposed 224-bed long-term care home at the corner.
Water Street also turns into County Road 29 to the north at the nearby city limits, a busy Lakefield-Peterborough road corridor. New Trent student residences were also built in recent years on Water Street further south of the corner.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner