Region adding second pedestrian crossing near trail by Bridgeport
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.