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Town Council briefed on bids to improve local road safety

March 25, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

A coalition of Orangeville residents has been formed with the aim of improving road safety throughout the community.

Drive Safe Orangeville was formed in late 2018 with just one mission in mind. On Monday (March 18) evening, one of its founding members, Randolph Swyer, attended Town Council to bring its members up to speed on some of the issues we, as a community, face today.

“We share a deep concern over the safety and condition of local roads, pedestrians and cyclists,” Mr. Swyer began. “To us, trading stories is important, and we have lots of stories to trade. We met David, who was hit by a car after the driver failed to stop at a stop sign. David was unconscious for five hours, unable to work for three years and forced to sell his home.”

Mr. Swyer indicated this was not an isolated case, confirming that 49 individuals had been struck by a vehicle in the past five years in Orangeville. 

Speeding is a huge part of the problem, Mr. Sywer stated, with 1,824 charges laid locally in 2018 alone. Disobeying traffic signs is a secondary problem, with 139 tickets issued to residents who failed to come to a complete stop at stop signs last year. 

The group does have a solution, with Mr. Swyer suggesting the Town adopt a 40 km/h speed limit on all residential streets and subdivisions.

“We’re asking Council to consider reducing speed limits in certain areas of town. We also think additional traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps, raised intersections, curb extensions, are important,” Mr. Swyer stated, adding that a public education campaign would go a long way to informing the public about the issues. 

Since its election, Orangeville’s new Council has gone some way to ensuring the community’s roads are as safe as they possibly could be. Last month, Coun. Todd Taylor put forth a motion to reduce the posted speed limits on Spencer Avenue and Alder Street to 40 km/h, a move that the rest of Council endorsed unanimously. 

“We recognize that Council has done some work to recognize speed limits around town. We’re asking Council to consider taking a town-wide approach. We see traffic violations all over this community. Variable speed limits cause confusion amongst drivers and isolated speed limit changes are not enough,” Mr. Swyer said. 

Coun. Grant Peters noted pedestrian and cycler safety was a “very important issue” for this Council, indicating that while the numbers provided by Mr. Swyer were startling, the reality is likely much worse.

“While the numbers you have presented speak for themselves, that only considers the reported issues,” Coun. Peters said. “The reality is, probably double or triple go unreported or uncaught. I’m glad to see this issue brought up and I’d really like to see, this term, for Council to look at an effective strategy for pedestrian and cyclist safety and interaction.”

Mayor Sandy Brown told Mr. Swyer that this was an issue Council would continue to monitor.

“We are very concerned about traffic in town and the safety of pedestrians. We’re trying to be a cycle friendly town as we go forward, so we’re taking all you are giving us to heart,” Mayor Brown said.

While not endorsing a blanket 40 km/h speed limit community-wide just yet, Council indicated that if Mr. Swyer and his team at Drive Safe Orangeville could come back with a petition or some other form of evidence suggesting this would be supported in the community, it would be something they would consider in the future.



         

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