No barricade to protect Orangeville home struck by multiple vehicles

February 6, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Orangeville Council has committed to carrying out some work to promote safe driving practices along McCannell Avenue, but not the installation of a $20,000 guardrail that would protect a property that has been struck by vehicles twice in the past five years. 

This particular issue was first brought to Council’s attention on Jan. 13, after Councillors Todd Taylor and Lisa Post met with the Robb family, residents of 389 Marshall Crescent. The local family were at an impasse following an incident on Jan. 2, when an eastbound vehicle  failed to  negotiate the left turn onto Rolling Hills Drive, leaving the road and crashing through the fence of backyard deck of their property. 

Fortunately, there were no physical injuries as a result of the incident. In addressing Council, however, Coun. Post indicated the ongoing issue was taking quite the toll on the Robb family.

“As well as the two, or three incidents that have been documented, the family can count numerous times, I would even say dozens of times, where people have missed that turn, come up behind their property and landed in an area that doesn’t necessarily impact their home,” Coun. Post said. “They wake up the next morning and just see a car in their backyard.”

She added, “What we have now is a family in our community who can’t sleep at night. They’re concerned about their home.”

She and Coun. Taylor had asked Council to approve installation of a barricade on the turn to Rolling Hills Drive, to protect the property at 389 Marshall Crescent, plus the installation of roadway alignment signs on both McCannell Ave. and Rolling Hills Dr., and the installation of two checkerboard signs at the intersection that would be visible to drivers approaching from either direction, and the planting of some boulevard trees on Rolling Hills Dr. along the flankage of 389 Marshall Crescent as a part of the municipality’s 2020 tree planting program. They also asked that a centre line be painted on both McCannell Ave. and Rolling Hills Dr.

When Doug Jones, the Town’s General Manager of Infrastructure Services, informed Council a guardrail alone would cost in the region of $20,000, some members voiced their concern over moving forward with such a steep, currently unbudgeted expense. 

“Wow, $20,000. … For just a basic guardrail?” Mayor Sandy Brown asked.

Mr. Jones noted that, while it would be considered a basic guardrail, the length of the roadway bend  could potentially, pose a problem.

“It would need to be built in a certain way and needs to be designed properly. Typically, a guardrail is not meant to be a barricade for head-on collisions, the intent is to protect vehicles and to guide them and help them continue into the road,” Mr. Jones said. “It’s possible we’d need to install this around the entire corner if we’re going to be placing a guiderail there, in which case it would be fairly long. That’s why we’d need to secure some expert advice on this, as well as speak to our insurer to make sure it’s designed appropriately to minimize the likelihood of any claim if there is a collision (between a vehicle and the guiderail) in the future.”

Coun. Debbie Sherwood said she would not support funding the installation of the barricade this year, but would consider it as a 2021 capital budget project. 

Tagging onto Mayor Brown’s concern with the cost, Coun. Grant Peters worried about the precedent Council would be setting if they approved the project as proposed by Coun. Taylor and Coun. Post.

“To me, a barricade and the expense that comes with it, if we start implementing platinum solutions to every potential safety issue we have in this town, and we have numerous, we’ll (be backing ourselves into a corner),” Coun. Peters said. “I think the measures that have been proposed, including the trees as a visual and slightly as a physical barrier, should do the trick.”

Rather than throw money at reactionary projects, such as a barricade, Coun. Peters said he’d like to see the Town attempt to address the root cause of the issue.

“I think some of the money we’re suggesting for these projects needs to go towards various community-wide initiatives. We need to address the cause of these issues, which is the people who are making these mistakes while driving. Whether it’s community outreach, or education, we need to look at addressing this on a town-wide scale. It’s going to be difficult, but as a society it’s something we need to look into,” Coun. Peters added. 

Coun. Post and Coun. Taylor each did their best to convince Council that a barricade, rather than just a tree barrier, is required at the site due to the number of times cars have left the road at that particular corner. 

“Sitting in the kitchen of people’s home and having to talk about their safety, and jeopardy… Putting in the guardrail is the whole point of this. The guard rail needs to be there,” Coun. Taylor said. “This issue isn’t going to be solved unless we have the guardrail.”

Mayor Brown said that, while it’s unfortunate the Robb family home had been struck on two occasions since 2015, he didn’t believe that was enough to justify spending a substantial amount of money on a barricade.

“I’m a realtor. A couple of years ago one of my clients had a car go through their front window and land in their living room. I’m well aware of these issues. That was an accident that happened. Accidents happen, and we can’t be spending inordinate amounts of money on every incident that happens in this town,” Mayor Brown said. “I have checked traffic counts on McCannell Ave., five years ago there was another incident, since that time there has been about 5.5 million cars go through that intersection and around that corner. Things happen sometimes. I just don’t think we can spend this kind of money at this point without it being considered in proper budget format.”

The mayor asked Mr. Jones to put together a cost estimate for the installation of a barricade, to be presented to Council in March. It is expected that the project will be discussed during next year’s budget discussions.


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