by Doreen O’Sullivan
I care. In spite of the talk at the Municipal level about the Transportation Master Plan, I am not convinced that the municipality of NG really cares. This is based upon the following three situations.
First, the public has been asked to complete a survey on-line regarding the transportation plan. In December, 2017, council was presented with a petition with 100 signatures clearly indicating what people felt and wanted regarding transportation planning on Wellington Rd. The cost of maintaining the unpaved portion of Wellington Rd could be significantly reduced if it was deemed a No Truck route. This road is exclusively residential, substandard, and not meant for heavy truck traffic. I understand that the cost of operating a grader is about $150 per hour. This road is often graded on a weekly, or even daily, basis during rainy weather and freeze-thaw cycles. That’s a lot of taxpayer dollars. The petition for a lowered speed limit and No Truck route was denied by council.
So why are they asking for our opinion in an on-line anonymous survey? Do they really care what we think?
Second, the OPP did a speed and traffic survey on Wellington Rd. on March 11 and 12, 2018. If you look at the results critically, you can see that it was done over two days, with one of them being a Sunday, and the other during March break holidays. This does not provide a good sample.
The other variable to consider is that the weather during that time had resulted in Wellington Rd. being in very bad condition, which would contribute to having traffic moving slower. The results were also selectively presented. They reported that 88% of the vehicles were travelling at 51 km or slower. This means that 12%, or 108 vehicles, were exceeding the speed limit. Of those, the highest speed was 93 Km per hour. I had to ask, repeatedly, to find out the highest speed recorded.
Council accepted the conclusion that there is not a problem, and no action would be taken. This was not reliable data or solid evidence on which to base a decision that there was no problem. Do they really care about speeding on a residential road?
Third, there are well-documented health benefits of being active and outdoors close to nature. Active transportation is encouraged, and yet many sidewalks are in poor condition, crumbling, cracked, heaving and uneven. Sidewalks start and end at random locations. For example, Clothier St. leads into down town and has no sidewalk from James St east to Bridge St., and no sidewalk west from Holy Cross school.
North Grenville typically budgeted $9,000 per year for sidewalk maintenance. In 2018, that was increased to $16,000 per year. Yet they are proposing to spend $1.5 million to reconfigure Wellington Rd with sidewalks and illumination. Maintenance and completion of sidewalks that already exist need to be given priority.
The town has limited bike parking, or bike lanes. Until last week, there was no safe way for pedestrians or cyclists to get to Colonnade Mall. Now we have a 3-way stop at Ryan’s Well Road and CR 19. Thanks to the United Counties of Leeds Grenville.
NG has an Active Transportation Advisory Committee, and I am honoured to be a part of that group. Unfortunately, there is no representative from the NG Planning or Public Works Departments on the committee. We should all be working together toward the common good for all residents in NG. Do they really care about active transportation?
I care. As a resident, health care professional, and a taxpayer, I care that this town is safe and fiscally responsible. I hope that you care as well. Complete the survey and let them know what you think and that you care: it is at: https://www.northgrenville.ca/govern/governance/transportation-master-plan.
The survey closes June 1, 2018.