Photo credit: Mathew Reisler
Bracebridge council agrees that while some residents disagreed with the traffic calming pilot project on Wellington Street North, it was worthwhile.
The pilot project ran from the beginning of July to September 13th. The north end of Wellington Street North was closed to eliminate southbound traffic from Manitoba Street and make it so only right-hand turns were possible when exiting Wellington Street North.
The project found that the speeds noted are “well within tolerance” for the stretch of road. It’s noted in Public Works Director Geoff Carleton’s report that increased volumes of traffic can lead to the “perception” of speeding and other traffic-related violations, like rolling stops, failing to yield, and poor pedestrian safety.
Carleton writes in his report that a “review of traffic patterns showed an increase in volume on Catharine Crescent, Glendale Road and Tamarack Trail”.
One area of concern is Tamarack Trail which is home to Monsignor Michael O’Leary School. The project found there were increased traffic volumes on the road and speeds were in the 85th percentile of 54 kilometres an hour. Carleton recommends in his report that $9,000 be allocated in the public works portion of the 2022 budget to allow for school zone markers to be purchased and installed that would make it painfully obvious that you’re in a school zone.
“I think reports like this are really important,” Mayor Graydon Smith said to General Committee last week. “We said we’re doing a pilot project, we gathered data and made a decision. I think it’s all too easy for people to say anecdotally ‘well we knew what was going to happen, we knew it was going to push traffic here or there or elsewhere […] “This is the solid way to make decisions, not by guessing at it,” Smith said.
The plan cost the town $40,000, which was included in the 2021 budget in anticipation of the project and other traffic calming measures.
In next year’s budget, the $9,000 will be included for school zone signs along with $75,000 to go towards the completion of the town’s transportation master plan.
While no traffic calming projects are scheduled, Carleton wrote staff will continue to implement them when deemed necessary.