Councillors supported a motion at last week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting that would see a pedestrian crossing analysis conducted in Wellington and Bloomfield.
Council asked for a report on the cost of a study to examine the need for crosswalks in Bloomfield and Wellington back in January. Last Thursday, that report came back to council, suggesting the studies could be undertaken an a combined estimated budget cost of $15,000.
The motion supported by committee says the capital expenditure for the Wellington analysis would be funded 15 per cent from the County’s capital sustainability reserve and 85 per cent from the development charges reserve. The Bloomfield study would be funded 50 per cent from the capital sustainability reserve and 50 per cent from the development charges reserve.
The report says mid-block crossings range in cost from $120,000 to $150,000. A four-way intersection upgrade could cost in excess of $250,000.
Back in January it was Wellington councillor Jim Dunlop asking for the motion, noting that last year a man was struck and killed while trying to cross the village’s Main Street. He once again supported the study
“It’s good to do the study because of the traffic patterns and, from a due diligence point of view, to make sure if something happens it’s been done right and is in the right location,” he said.
He thanked staff for moving on the issue quickly.
“Even though I’d like to have the crosswalk up yesterday, I realize we don’t have $130,000 for each one,” he said.
Councillor Gord Fox questioned the need for a study.
“If we want a crosswalk, why can’t we just put a crosswalk in?” he asked.
Engineering, development and works commissioner Robert McAuley said the crosswalk would be considered a regulated traffic control mechanism and would be governed by the rules of the province. He said without the study, liability issues could arise.
“While we could put one up — there’s no regulations that say we can’t — we’re completely exposed if for some reason it’s up incorrectly or in the wrong location or some fatality arises and someone discovers we haven’t done the appropriate and required analysis to support its existence,” he said.
He suggested that there’s a good chance the municipality would be challenged on the placement of any crosswalk.
Fox also questioned whether the municipality should be erecting a crosswalk close to CML Snider without any assurance that the school will remain open.
McAuley suggested the site currently has a lot of pedestrian traffic. If, down the road, the school were to close, the site would likely be used for another high-density development.
“It might have a different form, but similar characteristics,” he said. “All we can do is study what we know today and forecast forward what we think we know for tomorrow.”
With the closure of Pinecrest School in Bloomfield, there will also be an examination of the need for the current school zone and pedestrian crossing.
Councillor Barry Turpin said the crosswalk is used by a lot of people — especially in the summer.
“That’s a good place to have it, but I presume they will do all of the numbers and make the recommendation,” he said.
McAuley said the study could recommend upgrades, refinements, or could recommend the crossing be moved elsewhere.
Council will still have to approve the recommendation when it comes before them on March 27.