PXO cross­over ap­proved

Till­son­burg’s first PXO cross­over to be in­stalled on Broad­way at Glen­dale Drive

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS AB­BOTT

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.

Post­mediA net­work/File PhoTo

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.

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