Re­gion adding sec­ond pedes­trian cross­ing near trail by Bridge­port

Waterloo Region Record - - Local - JO­HANNA WEI­D­NER Water­loo Re­gion Record jwei­d­ner@there­cord.com Twit­ter: @Wei­d­nerRecord

WATER­LOO — In­stead of re­lo­cat­ing a pedes­trian cross­ing on Bridge­port Road in Water­loo, a sec­ond one will be added nearby.

The City of Water­loo re­quested that the re­gion con­sider re­lo­cat­ing the pedes­trian sig­nal from its cur­rent lo­ca­tion at Bridge­port and Pep­pler Street to a new spot about 105 me­tres to the east where the Lau­rel Creek Trail crosses Bridge­port, not­ing that more pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists cross there.

How­ever, con­cerned res­i­dents in the neigh­bour­hood urged the re­gion to keep the Pep­pler pedes­trian sig­nal where they pre­ferred to cross busy Bridge­port, many of them go­ing to a nearby school or child care cen­tre.

Water­loo Mayor Dave Ja­worsky put for­ward a mo­tion that passed unan­i­mously at a Tues­day re­gional coun­cil com­mit­tee meet­ing to keep the cur­rent sig­nal and add an­other at the trail.

“It’s go­ing to cost us an ex­tra $15,000 to re­move a cross­ing light that ob­vi­ously you can see cit­i­zens want,” Ja­worsky said.

Re­lo­cat­ing the pedes­trian sig­nal would cost $60,000, in­clud­ing re­moval of the orig­i­nal pedes­trian sig­nal.

Sep­a­rated bike lanes are be­ing con­sid­ered along Bridge­port, and the pedes­trian cross­ings can be looked at again then.

Coun. Tom Gal­loway, chair of the plan­ning and works com­mit­tee, said the cross­ings will be mon­i­tored for safety.

“Ac­tive trans­porta­tion is an is­sue that we need to give more pri­or­ity to and this is cer­tainly an ex­am­ple of that,” Gal­loway said.

“On the other hand, we have to make sure that it’s not an un­safe con­di­tion as well so we need to mon­i­tor it.”

Re­gional staff rec­om­mended re­lo­cat­ing the cross­ing due to safety con­cerns about closely spaced traf­fic sig­nals and driv­ers run­ning the red light, which is trig­gered by some­one want­ing to cross. The guide­line is to have cross­ings at least 200 me­tres apart.

Sev­eral del­e­ga­tions spoke at the Tues­day meet­ing, fo­cused on the safety of the pro­posed new sig­nal.

Anne Crowe, chair of the City of Water­loo ac­tive trans­porta­tion ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee, said cross­ing at Lau­rel Trail is chal­leng­ing be­cause it’s close to a bend on the busy road that lim­its vis­i­bil­ity for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists.

At Pep­pler, she said, “it’s still chal­leng­ing be­cause there’s lim­ited breaks in the traf­fic, but at least you can see what’s com­ing at you.”

Stephen Her­zog lives nearby and urged coun­cil to look at the whole sec­tion of Bridge­port be­tween We­ber and Moore, say­ing the pro­posed cross­ing was un­safe be­cause of the fast-mov­ing traf­fic and bend in the road.

“My con­cern is the driv­ers won’t see the lights,” Her­zog said. “Trail users will have a false sense of se­cu­rity.”

Coun. Ge­off Lorentz sug­gested switch­ing that sec­tion of Bridge­port from a oneway street to two ways to slow traf­fic, which was suc­cess­ful in down­town Kitch­ener.

“It’s been an amaz­ing change,” Lorentz said.

Coun­cil­lors also de­cided Tues­day to go ahead with road im­prove­ments to down­town Elmira.

The project cov­ers a just un­der a kilo­me­tre stretch of Church Street, from around Spruce Lane to Arthur Street, to ad­dress the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing road con­di­tion, add or re­place in­fra­struc­ture and add ac­tive trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

It in­cludes re­mov­ing street park­ing to add left turn lanes. A busi­ness owner on the street ob­jected to the plan, say­ing the loss of park­ing would ad­versely af­fect down­town busi­nesses while only mod­estly eas­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion through the town’s core.

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