Orangeville beefs up its stop sign policy

December 21, 2023   ·   1 Comments


Amendments to Orangeville’s stop sign policy should not limit council’s role in such signage requests.

Municipal staff are working to update the town’s policy on stop signs. Deputy Mayor Todd Taylor said during council’s Dec. 11 meeting that he’s concerned council’s role may be diminished with policy changes.

He said council may want to do something that goes against the purpose of a stop sign. He said there have been instances where some stop signs have been allowed in places they shouldn’t be located.

“But there’s a general outcry, and it feels like there’s a public need to be heard, and we go ahead and we do these things,” Taylor said.

He said he’d prefer council didn’t put tight parameters on stop sign justification and limit council’s ability to do what it wants.

“I’d rather we still have some autonomy to do these things,” Taylor said. “You’re going to say that we probably do, but the reality is we’re probably giving staff really the ultimate decision-making powers.”

Tim Kocialek, the town’s general manager of infrastructure services, said the current policy was adopted in 1996. Any suggested changes are to bring the policy in line with current standards and changes in the Ontario Traffic Manual.

“Staff would be able to look at it [a stop sign request] from a technical level before it comes to council,” he said.

A staff report into the policy update recommends that each request be received and reviewed by staff for the purpose of evaluating the request by using the warrants and justifications as outlined in the Ontario Traffic Manual.

This process will involve reviewing each location and, if required, collecting traffic and pedestrian data for the purpose of comparing the data to the requirements of the OTM. 

“A stop sign is one of the most valuable and effective traffic control devices when used at the right location and under the right conditions,” according to a report to council. “The purpose of this regulatory sign is to clearly assign the right-of-way between vehicles approaching an intersection from different directions.”

When misused, the stop sign can create an inconvenience and even a dangerous situation for motorists and pedestrians. In general, stop signs should not be used as a resolution to speed problems. When properly located, the signs can be a useful traffic control device to enhance safety for all roadway users.

The policy being recommended clearly details the process for reviewing stop signs and using collected data and geographic information to determine justifications for use. 

Updated policy procedures will give staff an effective tool for dealing with requests from residents and stakeholders in a timely and consistent manner.

“So we have some technical guidelines to be able to look at and say, What is important when we look at the merits for a stop sign?” Kocialek said.

He said staff would bring to council any signage requests that are in a policy gray area, and council will be the authority to adjudicate any sensitive requests.

Mayor Lisa Post said there had been instances with the current policy when the council went against the staff’s determination.

“We’ve always had a policy and council has gone against the policy several times,” she said. “We still have the ability to do that, but this just engages staff earlier in the process than it did before.”

“Ultimately, we just want to make Orangeville a safe place to walk and drive in,” said Councillor Tess Prendergast. “As the town grows and changes, we adapt with it.”

Taylor said there are times when a decision is made by way of one’s familiarity with a neighbourhood.

“Facts sometimes don’t come into play,” Taylor said. “I want to still be able to have that touchpoint. I want to be able to make decisions that are poor from the standpoint of the Highway Traffic Act but well thought out in terms of how people feel about the impact.”

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Brian Nestor says:

    The Lawli STOP premiered at the Ontario Good Roads conference last spring with positive feedback. Can’t be missed!
    Check it out!


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