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Traffic-calming measures for Barnswallow?

Contemplating traffic-calming measures for Elmira’s Barnswallow Drive, Woolwich council will be looking for public feedback on a variety of proposed changes.

Under consideration are the installation of two four-way stops, the reduction of the width of driving lanes and the addition of more trees along the boulevard, among other improvements.

Barnswallow Drive, a major collector road on Elmira’s west side, is essentially a wide-open strip from Whippoorwill Drive to Church Street. Traffic surveys show drivers average a speed of 63 km/h in an area posted at 50 km/h, director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley told councillors meeting Tuesday night.

While that’s not overly excessive, there is concern because of two school crosswalks on the route, he added.

The township is looking at all-way stops at the intersection of Barnswallow Drive and First Street and at Barnswallow and Kingfisher drives. The former was the subject of a mail-out to 164 residences in the vicinity of that intersection; the township received 42 replies, with 25 respondents in favour and 17 opposed.

Given the impact of traffic-calming measures, the township wants to hold a public meeting before making any decisions. Council agreed to the meeting, with a date to be set.

Both Ward 1 councillors, however, appeared hesitant about the changes.

“It’s nice for people to have a way through town if they don’t want to go through the downtown,” said Coun. Sandy Shantz, noting Barnswallow Drive is meant to be a throughway.

The average speeds and traffic volumes – less than half of the benchmark figure of 7,500 vehicles per day – don’t warrant the proposed measures, suggested Coun. Ruby Weber, adding that if school crosswalks are a concern, traffic lights would be much safer than all-way stops.

Using technical guidelines, none of the intersections warrants an all-way stop, let alone traffic lights, Kennaley replied. The measures have been put forward for safety reasons.

His report also suggests repainting lines to narrow the driving lanes, “making slower speeds seem natural to drivers and less of an artificial imposition.” Planting more trees on the boulevard would make the street appear less wide open, prompting drivers to go lighter on the gas pedal.

In a related matter, the township will set up equipment to monitor speed and traffic volumes on Whippoorwill Drive.

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