The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville are planning to put a set of lights at the intersection of County Road 43 and County Road 22 (South Gower Drive). Michael Young is a resident in the subdivision, at the south west corner of the intersection. He says there is a definite need for something to be done at the intersection, which sees a high number of collisions and significant traffic, particularly in the summer months when South Gower Park is in use for baseball and soccer.
Michael was under the impression that a roundabout at that intersection was part of the long-term plan for County Road 43. He believes this would be a better solution, as it would improve traffic flow and slow down the traffic on County Road 43, where cars travel upwards of 80kms/h. He is also concerned about the amount of traffic cutting through the residential subdivision along Pintail Gate when the traffic is backed up at the intersection. He says residents already purposely park on the street to try and dissuade people from speeding through the subdivision.
“I don’t think a traffic signal is going to reduce the lineup,” Michael says. “A roundabout design forces you to slow down. It is a better way [to control traffic].”
Director of Public Works for the County, Arup Mukherjee, says that, as far as he knows, there was never a plan to put a roundabout at that intersection. “It’s too far out of town,” he says, adding that all the roundabouts planned for County Road 43 were between Highway 416 and Somerville Road in Kemptville. While he does acknowledge that roundabouts are an excellent way to control traffic, Arup says the County has to take into consideration cost and land availability when it comes to figuring out how to make intersections safer. Installing a roundabout at County Road 43 and South Gower Drive would be more expensive, and they would likely need to acquire more land around the intersection to make it feasible.
He says the County believes having a traffic light there will help control traffic and make turning right or left at the intersection safer and easier. Sensors will be installed, so that the light won’t go red and stop traffic along County Road 43 unless someone is wanting to pass though the intersection along South Gower Drive, or turn left or right.
While he can’t guarantee that people won’t attempt to skip traffic by driving through the subdivision, he doesn’t believe it’s a smart option for people leaving South Gower Park. “I can’t imagine it would be faster to meander through a subdivision,” he says.
The County is looking at the detailed design for the traffic lights this year, to be submitted to County Council for consideration in the 2020 budget. Arup is open to considering a roundabout for the intersection, but, with the cost and land involved, he doesn’t seem to think it is a viable solution. “We have to weigh all the options,” he says.