Wool­wich to lobby re­gion for pedes­trian cross­walk at St. Ja­cobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - STEVE KANNON

WOOL­WICH WILL HAVE TO get po­lit­i­cal if it wants a pedes­trian cross­walk at the St. Ja­cobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket.

Re­gion of Water­loo staff re­mains the big­gest hur­dle to a plan to boost safety at that lo­ca­tion, so con­vinc­ing re­gional coun­cil­lors to re­move the road­blocks is the top pri­or­ity, sug­gests Dan Ken­na­ley, Wool­wich’s di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing and plan­ning.

The sight of pedes­tri­ans fan­ning out across Farm­ers’ Mar­ket and Ben­jamin roads on mar­ket days – Thurs­days and Satur­days, with Tuesdays added in the sum­mer – has been a long­stand­ing safety con­cern. A new re­port pre­sented Tues­day night to town­ship coun­cil looked at a va­ri­ety of op­tions for deal­ing with the sit­u­a­tion, rec­om­mend­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a pedes­tri­an­con­trolled cross­walk at the in­ter­sec­tion of the two roads lead­ing into the mar­ket.

That idea is op­posed by re­gional plan­ners, who say such a cross­ing would be too close to the in­ter­sec­tion of Farm­ers’ Mar­ket Road and We­ber Street, likely to have a neg­a­tive im­pact on traf­fic flows.

As the re­gion needs to ap­prove and ar­range for the in­stal­la­tion of the cross­walk, con­vinc­ing re­gional coun­cil­lors of the ben­e­fits is the key to get­ting it built, said Ken­na­ley.

The plan was ap­proved by Wool­wich coun­cil­lors meet­ing Tues­day night. Now the real work of con­vinc­ing their re­gional coun­ter­parts be­gins.

“I think it is im­por­tant we make it as safe as we can for peo­ple who are walk­ing,” said Coun. Mur­ray Martin in sup­port of the cross­walk.

Safety is a key driver of the process, said act­ing man­ager of en­gi­neer­ing Jared Puppe in an ear­lier in­ter­view.

Pedes­trian well-be­ing and op­er­a­tional im­pacts on the ad­ja­cent roads were the high­est pri­or­ity in look­ing at so­lu­tions to the prob­lem. With the bill – cur­rently es­ti­mated at $60,000 to $80,000 – be­ing cov­ered by SmartCen­tres, the com­pany that runs the nearby re­tail cen­tre, cost was less of an is­sue.

“We wanted to go with the best so­lu­tion with­out cost be­ing part of it,” said Puppe.

Now, the job is to con­vince enough peo­ple at the re­gion to back the cross­walk project.

“Re­gional staff aren’t on­board, but we need to show them this is a unique sit­u­a­tion that re­quires a unique so­lu­tion.”

The project pro­vides a good safety bang for the buck, noted Ken­na­ley – “It’s a cost-ef­fec­tive way to ad­dress the is­sue.”

Such are the safety con­cerns that the town­ship will be ask­ing the mar­ket op­er­a­tor to pro­vide po­lice on the scene to con­trol traf­fic and en­sure pedes­tri­ans cross safely un­til a cross­walk is in­stalled

The pro­posed cross­walk would in­clude pedes­tri­an­ac­ti­vated traf­fic sig­nals – red, green and yel­low – that would pro­vide gaps to al­low batches of peo­ple on foot to ac­cess the site. To keep traf­fic mov­ing, the con­trols would be timed so that pedes­tri­ans don’t sim­ply takeover the in­ter­sec­tion, Puppe ex­plained.

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