Diane Dr. to get more stop signs, be made community safety zone

April 29, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Residents of Diane Drive will finally see something done regarding traffic and safety concerns that they have been speaking out about over the last month.

The issue first arose shortly after the snow melted, with residents complaining of speeding, but it was heightened a couple of weeks ago when a local resident was struck and dragged by a car.

Earlier this month, several residents approached Orangeville Council, asking it to consider making changes to the street that would improve safety.

“We need further action on our street to make it safe again,” said resident Kerry-Lynn Morrison during the meeting’s public question period.

“People see [these] problem[s] on a regular day.”

Ms. Morrison had provided council with a list of suggestions to improve safety, which she pointed out is an even higher concern considering the changes expected to increase usage of the Lions Park, located on the street.

“At the end of the day, further action has to be taken to ensure these people protect the neighbourhood,” she said.

The list of 15 suggestions included everything from the installation of speed ‘humps’, which slow traffic but are less damaging than speed bumps, to installing a cross-walk, repainting the stop sign lines and even making Diane Drive a one-way street.

At the end of the discussion, Council moved forward with a motion to receive a report from staff on some options available, and to take into consideration all the recommendations provided by the public.

Not surprisingly, at Monday night’s council meeting, the situation on Diane Drive was once again a hot topic, with a large number of residents turning up in hopes of hearing a solution to the problem.

Mayor Jeremy Williams urged caution at passing a motion, reminding members of council and the public that while it’s normal to jump for a solution after a serious incident, it is also important to make sure the right solution is found.

“We want to do what residents want, we do care, but that knee-jerk response is a dangerous one and need to think carefully,” said Mayor Williams.

Councillor Sylvia Bradley introduced a motion to have a three-way stop in place at Oxford Street and Diane Drive, to help force more caution, to see crosswalk lines painted at both three-way intersections (including the current stop at Manor Crescent), as well as to decrease the speed limit to 40 km/h for the length of the street and make it a community safety zone.

“I think taking these actions will help with the future of traffic calming and addressing the issues and concerns of the neighbourhood, especially with the addition of the sports pad,” said Councillor Bradley. “I think it’s a way to be proactive and keep the residents happy.”

During the discussion, Councillor Don Kidd brought up the possibility of adding another stop sign at the entrance to the Lions Park.

But Public Works Director Doug Jones said that because there are two entrances to the parking lot, it would be difficult to erect stop signs mid-block.

“With respect to that, if we were looking at putting stop signs at the two entrances, I’m not sure whether we would put one or both,” said Mr. Jones. “They are mid-block and it would certainly control traffic there to a greater extent. Perhaps if council was interested in putting in stop signs, we could explore the idea to reconfigure the parking lot so there is one entrance and exit to help control traffic.”

Following that, Councillor Kidd also suggested a friendly amendment to the motion to see a three-way stop erected at Brenda and Diane, but Councillor Bradley rejected it, on grounds Oxford and Brenda are too close to one another and Brenda is too close to Broadway.

However, both Mayor Williams and Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock suggested stop signs were not the solution to the Diane Drive problem.

“Although I sympathize with residents and want to do what we can, I think we are jumping the gun a bit with stop signs,” said Deputy Mayor Maycock. “There are also going to be costs related to signs, and with the whole area designated as a community safe zone we would need to find out the number of signs required. We want to do what can, but I think we are jumping the gun a bit this evening and can’t support motion on the floor.”

Despite their concerns, the motion passed with a vote of 3-2 in favour. With Diane Drive’s new designation as a Community Safety Zone, drivers will have to be even more cautious on the street, as speeding fines will be doubled.

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