Breslau residents push for traffic-calming on Woolwich Street

Growth in Breslau that has worsened longstanding safety concerns on Woolwich Street has residents calling for traffic-calming measures. Woolwich Street resident Jennifer Williams presented a petition signed by 30 of her neighbours to councillors Tuesday night, asking for the township to act. For its part, Woolwich plans to look at the situation, suggesting a formal traffic study would help planners decide the next steps.

This is not the first time residents have been out to council demanding action. Studies in 2005, 2006 and 2007 showed both traffic volumes and speeding to be an issue, with the council of the day ultimately deciding to reduce the speed limit on Woolwich Street to 40 km/h from 50. The township also put stop signs at the intersection of Dolman Street after considering the installation of three stop along the stretch of Woolwich Street running through the village.

Acknowledging past efforts, Williams argued this week that the problem was never fully solved. Now, with development in Breslau, especially the Riverland subdivision to the south, there’s more traffic and more speeding.
“The speed is dangerously fast,” she said, urging the installation of speed humps to slow traffic.

Asked by Mayor Todd Cowan if speed humps were the only solution, she replied “I don’t see any other way … than an obstacle so that they can’t speed.”

Attempting to nip in the bud protests about the use of the traffic-calming devices, she argued they only pose a possible damage threat to speeding vehicles, adding the same is true of noise complaints: cars travelling at the appropriate speed would have no problem.

“I am asking the township, in the face of possible opposition, to avoid a predictable tragedy and implement traffic-calming speed humps.”

Reminded by Coun. Mark Bauman that the township previously installed a temporary speed bump on Woolwich Street in 2006, director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley said he would be looking at the information collected from previous studies.

Kennaley suggested using the township’s mobile speed trailer to measure traffic volumes and speeds along Woolwich Street, adding the caveat that the device can’t be used in winter as it interferes with snow-clearing and doesn’t work in cold winter temperatures. The study would have to wait until after May 1, subject to study locations already on the township’s list.

Cowan, however, suggested safety concerns should be the top priority rather than adding locations on a first-come, first-served basis.

Asked by Coun. Julie-Anne Herteis if possible solutions would go beyond speed humps, Kennaley said the study would cast a wider net.

“We’ll look at any and all traffic-calming measures that might be included.”

Looking at the big picture, Bauman noted the problem would also be addressed if the region would speed up completion of the Breslau bypass route, connecting Ebycrest Road with Fountain Street to channel more cars away from Woolwich Street.

Opened in the fall of 2004 at a cost of $1.6 million, the bypass – formally Reg. Rd. 17, or Fountain Street – was only slowly adopted by motorists. Five years ago, during the last studies of traffic as residents pushed for safety measures, almost three times as many drivers (7,000-9,000 a day) – used Woolwich Street versus 3,000 for Fountain Street.

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  1. I just read this article and it comes as a complete surprise to me. I live on Woolwich st and never had anyone come to my door asking me to sign anything. The only thing the speed bumps did before was make cars drive around them. I don’t think there going to solve anything this time around. A stronger police presence would be great here. I see cars passing all the time. Woolwich st. is a no passing zone. As for the bypass, cars don’t use it now, so why would they use it later? Finished street or not. The stop signs are a joke. People don’t stop for other cars or pedestrians. You take your life in your hands just trying to walk across the road. I think the only thing that is going to work is if you close Woolwich and make it for local traffic only. But that’s not really a viable option. Just my opinion. If the people of Breslau think council is going to do anything for them, they should think back to all the other problems that we have gone to council for and have been turned down. If it doesn’t happen in Elmira than it isn’t worth dealing with.

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