by Deron Johnston
The long awaited installation of a three-way stop at the intersection of Prescott Street and Clothier Street in downtown Kemptville was finally completed this past Friday. Following up on an email submitted by the North Grenville Times as to the status of the project a day earlier, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville CAO (and former North Grenville CAO), Andy Brown called to confirm that the three-way stop would be completed within the next two weeks, as long as weather permitted. In fact, it was actually installed within the next two days. There were no road closures, or prohibitive traffic disruptions necessary for the installation which went quickly and smoothly.
“It’s been a long time coming.” said Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area Executive Director, John Barclay. “The BIA requested that this be done three years ago and it’s great to see it finally happen.” When asked why he thought that it took so long, John responded: “Despite the fact that these two streets are in downtown Kemptville, they’re both County roads, so they are actually the responsibility of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. So, that means you’re dealing with two tiers of municipal government to get the project done. In the big picture, this three-way stop was probably not the highest priority for the United Counties, because they have many other municipalities to deal with who probably all want projects of their own done in their municipality. Ultimately, we’re just grateful that it’s finished and downtown is now safer for everyone.” He added: “I remember when we had our Kids Christmas Downtown event, I saw a couple of times where families had to literally run across Clothier Street, practically dragging their kids behind them to get across safely.”
The intersection, having long been a safety concern for drivers, parents, residents and downtown businesses, already appears to be allowing pedestrians a safer place to cross Clothier Street. The safety concern has been caused by the limited ability of pedestrians to see vehicles coming (because of parked vehicles along Clothier St.) when trying to cross from one side of Clothier St. to the other. It was also risky for drivers when trying to turn right or left from Prescott St onto Clothier St., for the same reason.
The subject of the new intersection, when originally posted on the North Grenville Times Facebook page, attracted mostly positive feedback, but some people thought it was a bad idea, because it might back up traffic downtown, and especially coming down Rideau St. trying to turn onto Clothier St. Though this may be true, drivers always seem to be able to adapt to changes like this. One person suggested that Rideau St. and Sanders St. should now become one-way streets with Rideau Street having two lanes going south and Sanders St. have two lanes going north. This idea, too, has been around for a very long time.
At the end of it all, if the goal was to increase safety, I think everyone can agree that this should be the first priority of the United Counties when it comes to traffic control.