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Monday, February 24, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Stop signs may not be so temporary in St. Jacobs

Woolwich council balks at removing signs installed during two years of King Street reconstruction

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In place for the past two years during the reconstruction of King Street in St. Jacobs, three temporary stop signs in the village will be sticking around, at least for the time being.

While Woolwich engineering staff stressed the “temporary” part, councillors liked the “stop sign” part of the equation, shooting down a recommendation they be removed. Instead, they instructed staff to look at traffic numbers with an eye towards making any and all of them permanent.

The signs currently regulate north-south traffic flow at the intersection of Queensway Drive and Princess Street, Young Street and Hachborn Street, and Water Street and Abner’s Lane.

Director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley’s bid to serve up the required 14 days’ notice to remove the signs gained no traction at all with councillors meeting Tuesday night. In fact, they were unanimous in support of keeping them in place.

“I will not support taking them out until at least the warrants are done. This is a safety issue in St. Jacobs that people feel strongly about,” said Ward 2 Coun. Mark Bauman.

For Queensway Drive resident Dale Frey, the school on the street makes it imperative to stem traffic around his neighbourhood.

“I don’t want them taken out. They control the speed,” he said, noting that sentiment is shared by his neighbours.

Queensway Drive, for instance is something of a “drag strip,” he added, maintaining the stop signs may not fix the problem, but they do slow most people down.

“You won’t get a complaint from the neighbours, I can guarantee that.”

Other councillors were immediately sympathetic to the cause.

“They’ve been serving a purpose,” said Coun. Larry Shantz. “Keep them for now.”

Kennaley argued that retaining the stop signs without a proper study to show they’re warranted may increase the township’s liability if, for instance, a collision occurs at one of those intersections.

The warrant studies, proposed for this summer, would be better if the signs were removed, he added.

But Bauman dismissed the liability concerns in favour of continued safety at intersections where people have already become accustomed to the stop signs during two years of construction and detours.

“In the world that I live in, if I drive into the back of someone, I’m charged with careless driving … whether the car in front is stopped for a stop sign or for a squirrel,” he said, noting he’s had numerous emails from residents concerned about removing the signs.

The signs will remain, with staff to look at warrant issues in the summer, taking into account traffic volumes, average speeds, history of accidents and the geography, including the proximity to St. Jacobs Public School.

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