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Traffic-calming measures approved for St. Jacobs

The King Street reconstruction project now underway in St. Jacobs, township council moved quickly this week to approve new traffic-calming and parking control measures.

All-way stop signs are slated for Water Street and Abner’s Lane, Water Street at the park and the intersection of Queensway Drive and Princess Street near St. Jacobs Public School. The township will also prohibit parking along one side of Water Street while it’s being used as a detour route during the construction project. Likewise, temporary no-parking signs will line both sides of Cedar Street between King and Water streets to provide trucks access to local businesses as needed during work on the project.

Concerned residents who addressed councillors last month were out again Tuesday night to push for the safety measures.

“Please consider some kind of traffic-calming at the bottom of Water Street before something happens,” said Nicola Bywater, pointing to speeding concerns as vehicles come down the hill.

While monitoring traffic in that area and near the school, Ward 2 Coun. Mark Bauman said he hasn’t seen many speeding cars, an observation backed by the increased police presence he requested.

However, he did notice that children on bicycles and scooters – some of them not wearing helmets – often weave onto the road without looking around. Likewise for pedestrians not looking before walking across the street, a practice that parents should be addressing, especially with increased traffic just now.

“Those are things parents can impress upon [them]. The onus has to fall on the parents,” he said.

Along with those unsafe practices, his monitoring of traffic around the school revealed parents using no-stopping zones to drop off their kids, creating a safety hazard by blocking sightlines.

“I’m wondering if public shaming is an option,” said Bauman, suggesting some mention in the school newsletter of specific-enough information to get the attention of repeat offenders.

In a related matter, councillors voted in favour of extending municipal water and sanitary sewer pipes to the south end of St. Jacobs while the Region of Waterloo has the road and underground services dug up. Some 15 property owners along King Street currently on private wells and septic systems will have the option to tap in, though they’ll have no choice about paying: each will be responsible for paying about $30,000 to cover the per-property cost. Residents would also have to cover the cost of a line from the roadway into their homes should they decide to hook up to the services.

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