Resident renews traffic complaints

July 22, 2015   ·   0 Comments

A local resident’s distaste for the volume of traffic on his street has once again led to a heated discussion at Orangeville Council.

Ron Lehman, a resident who has lived on Elizabeth Street for a number of years, has gone to Council numerous times to express his concerns about traffic on his street.

“We’re really fed up with all this noise on our street,” Mr. Lehman told the July Council meeting. “The pollution and noise continuously comes by our houses. Toronto kids are dying from asthma because of pollution in Toronto. Is it happening to our kids here? I don’t know.”

Over the last several years, Public Works Director Doug Jones has done a number of surveys and put together a report on the street, which he identifies as a minor collector. But Mr. Lehman says, since the road itself does not line up with what other municipalities, like Mississauga, consider as a minor collector, the label should not be there.

“[Mr. Jones] doesn’t respect the other municipalities’ definition, and sees fit to create his own roads,” explained Mr. Lehman. “The street is not wide enough to be called a minor collector road. These violations have caused untold issues for residents living on [the street].”

Mayor Jeremy Williams said both the town and police have spent a lot of time over the past several years assessing the volume of traffic, its speed and its users, and have found that it is not an inappropriate volume  of users.

“In all fairness, there has been a lot of time spent on reports by the Town staff, by our Chief and the local officers,” said Mayor Williams. “What you want, I cannot give you. You want to go back in time 20 years, and I cannot do that.”

But Mr. Lehman said what he wants  is to have Council to do one of two things: reduce the traffic volume or erect noise barriers to prevent residents from hearing the noise.

“We want less vehicles, less pollution, less noise and no trucks or motorcycles,” said Mr. Lehman. “I hear the noise, and I live with it 24/7.”

However, the Town cannot ban motorcycles from using  streets, and there is no legal way to prevent non-residents from using Elizabeth Street.

While the Town could erect a ‘No Through Traffic’  or ‘Local Traffic Only” sign, or direct the traffic elsewhere, similar to the signs currently at the entrances to Diane Drive, in order to ensure compliance, the town would need to have a by-law officer or police officer monitoring the street 24/7.

The discussion became heated when Mr. Lehman tried to cut Mayor Williams off during his response, at which point, the Mayor had to ask him to stop talking, and then to leave the podium, several times before Mr. Lehman complied.

In closing, Mayor Williams made a point to thank those involved in the road studies so far, and added that from his perspective, there is not much that can be done.

“I would like to thank all of our staff for all the work that they have put into this,” said Mayor Williams. “We’re not going to make Mr. Lehman happy because we cannot turn back the clock. I know many people who live on streets that are far busier than Elizabeth Street. Those people aren’t here to complain, because they know they live on busy streets.”

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