PXO crossover approved
Tillsonburg’s first PXO crossover to be installed on Broadway at Glendale Drive
Three times a day, Monday to Friday, not including school holidays, Glendale Drive where it meets Broadway can be one of the busiest intersections in Tillsonburg.
It’s about to get easier for pedestrians to cross Broadway. A bylaw passed Tuesday night at Till son burg Council approved plans to install a Pedestrian Crossover (PXO), a few metres south of Glendale Drive.
It will, however, intersect the driveway of Sherry Hamilton, who lives on the east side of Broadway across the street from where Glendale Drive intersects it. Given the opportunity to make a presentation to Town Council Tuesday night, Hamilton passionately tried to persuade Council to consider moving the PXO north.
Hamilton noted a pedestrian study was initiated in June 2016, and there was an information meeting for nearby property owners in July.
“I was told only 24 people were invited,” said Hamilton. “In a town of more than 15,000 people, I have my concerns because I do believe this affects everyone, not just the 24 people who were invited. Of the 24, only three people attended, myself being one.
“Since the study was done, some things have changed. Our town is growing, we’re seeing development to the north,” said Hamilton, who listed the new developments suggested a crossover closer to Lisgar Avenue would be more beneficial to all. “All of these things impact or change the vehicular and pedestrian traffic that they were trying to monitor at the time.
“I think this crossing needs to benefit all of the taxpayers, from all walks of life, all the citizens, not just the students.”
She recalled a site meeting with an engineer from the Town of Tillsonburg, and MTO representative, who at the time asked whether a mid-block crossing had been considered to benefit both Glendale Drive and Lisgar Avenue pedestrians.
“I believe fully that having a midblock crossing is not going to over congest either the Lisgar or the Glendale access. If you’ve ever been on Broadway in the morning, on garbage day, when the students are there, the buses are turning... adding a crosswalk in there, I don’t think it’s going to be the best idea.”
On August 15, Hamilton said she saw a proposed location that did not intersect her driveway... but that in the package presented to Council Tuesday night, it had been moved back to her driveway.
“I really think we have to discuss this. I do agree - we need a crossing. But pushing forward without considering the new developments, the new considerations, would in my opinion be nothing more than making a choice or decision with one eye closed.”
“This process began way back in the 2016 budget deliberations (2015) when Council asked us to look at this location,” said Kevin DeLeebeeck, Director of Operations, in later discussion.
After moving forward on it, he said they engaged various agencies - OPP, EMS, Fire, and the school board - and received letters of support to install a PXO crossing on the ‘south leg’ of the intersection, as well as the Ministry of Transportation.
DeLeebeeck noted the public information session to inform residents directly affected by the project.
“We followed that process to make sure we had that face to face communication.”
DeLeebeeck said other alternatives were considered, including a mid-block crossing, but “both traffic consultant and MTO staff do not support a mid-block crossing due to its close proximity to both the intersections, the conflicting movements it would generate in that regard.
“We did look at potentially changing it from the south leg to the north leg, but that would cause pedestrians to be exposed to traffic twice, reducing the overall intent which was to increase pedestrian safety and reduce their exposure.”
They also considered moving it south, said DeLeebeeck, to avoid conflict with Hamilton’s driveway, but they had concerns with sightlines if they moved it too far back.
“So at the end of the day this was pretty much the most ideal location after reviewing everything.”
Being the first PXO crossing in town, DeLeebeeck said they have developed some ‘infographics’ to share with the community and a dedicated page on the Town’s website, to bring awareness to drivers and cyclists.
“It’s the new thing, I guess, for pedestrian crossings,” said DeLeebeeck, noting they have already been appearing in cities.
Councillor Penny Esseltine asked if there was a minimum distance required between PXOs, if in the future there was a need for a crossing at the proposed trail on north Broadway.
“Would that one be too close to this one to warrant there being a second (PXO) in that area?” she asked DeLeebeeck.
“Broadway is unique in that it is a Provincial Highway,” said DeLeebeeck. “So the MTO must be in support to place a pedestrian crossing. In this instance, they recognize the fact that there is no formal crossing between North Street and Concession Street. That is a very long section of Provincial Highway where there is no access no legal access - for pedestrians to cross. So if the warrants are there, if the north end of town was to develop, and the trail was activated, we should probably look at something more to the north end.”
“This is pretty much ready to go, from the report,” said Esseline. “How long before it would be in place, if everything is approved?”
“It is our full intent (if approved) to have this implemented before the end of this calendar year,” said DeLeebeeck.
Councillor Jim Hayes said he had concerns about the number of people who attended the information meeting, and the number of people in town who were not aware of the PXO, and the number of people crossing Broadway coming from the Glendale subdivision (Christie or Carolina Streets).
“This has been over a year, with four council reports on this topic coming before Council, so that would be an opportunity for the public. But we did follow the town’s public engagement policy strategy, too... our strategy was to inform about a specific project, not necessarily consult on this aspect, because of the fact that the location was pretty much solidified by this point. But I would point out, that in one of the reports, that were going to go above and beyond, that we would consult with the property owners directly affected by this PXO crossing... so we could have that face to face conversation.”
“We discussed this a year, yearand-a-half ago,” said Hayes, “I mentioned a lot of students come up through... Allen Street, then cut across by the old Christopher’s Restaurant. It’s kind of human nature, if you’re walking down Broadway, you’re going to look for a break in traffic, then run across. How much use will we get out of this, in this position? South of the Glendale corner, and we’ve got a left hand turn lane that’s going to kind of interfere with it. That’s just my comments on it.”
Deputy Mayor Dave Beres noted one of the significant changes is the potential trail crossing, and wondered whether it would be wise to postpone the PXO to get accurate counts when that section of the trail is opened.
“I’m just concerned that we may put in this capital project now and a year from now be sorry that we did because of the massive volumes of pedestrian traffic... crossing at the trail on Broadway where the railroad track used to be,” said Beres. “I’m just afraid that if we do it now we may look back and be sorry. So my question is, how pertinent is it to do it now rather than postpone it a year, to check those numbers a year from now? Or are those numbers considerably higher at Glendale?”
DeLeebeeck said new developments on the north end of Broadway are more ‘vehicular’ rather than pedestrian, therefore would not generate significantly greater pedestrian volume.
“Let’s say for example we install this PXO at Broadway and Glendale,” said DeLeebeeck. “And, I don’t have a crystal ball, but if the trail is developed in the future, that we should continue to monitor the pedestrian activity at that location. If the warrants are such that it warrants a PXO crossing, as viable there, we would go through the same process again. Because it’s not about should we just have one in this corridor, it’s about putting it where it’s most viable.”
“Just so we’re clear,” Mayor Stephen Molnar noted, “there is no trail, east-west access, at that area of town, currently. There is no trail, no trail head, there is an abandoned rail line. Now, if the opportunity exists, or if it become available... it’s being considered.”
“A lot of time and effort and energy has gone into finding the right place,” said Molnar earlier in the evening. “I will never, personally, say that it’s just about the students, but by gosh it’s a lot about students. It’s a lot about kids that run across the street and they don’t think first. I remain committed to it.”
The bylaw vote to install the PXO crossing at Glendale Drive and Broadway was passed with one dissenting vote from Councillor Hayes.
Pedestrians have the right of way at the new PXO crossovers, instead of the motorists. This PXO was installed in Windsor. Crossovers became possible with passage of the Making Ontarioís Roads Safer Act in 2016. In Tillsonburg, Town Council approved a bylaw Tuesday night at its council meeting which will see the installation of the town's first PXO crossover on Broadway at Glendale Drive. The town plans to have it operational before the end of the calendar year.