A County Road 7 pedestrian and traffic report from the Ainley Group was presented during a special public information session on Monday, January 31. The meeting was held virtually via zoom as a means to garner public feedback from the findings of the report . Those findings, along with that in the report, will be presented to the Committee of the Whole by way of a staff report sometime in late February.
The report was penned by Lilly Chen, Senior Transportation Engineer at the Ainley Group. Over 90 members of the public joined the meeting via Zoom.
The Ainley Group study was conducted at the request of council due to the high level of pedestrian traffic on the road that stretches past the Lake on the Mountain Resort/The Miller House and the Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park.
The area studied includes the west entrance of LOTM Resort and the east entrance of the LOTM provincial parking lot.
As per the direction of council, work conducted by the Ainley Group included:
- Collection of pedestrian and vehicle traffic count data for the study area in the Summer (note that this assignment was awarded in August of 2021 so counts were taken in late August and on Labour Day weekend);
- Analyse current traffic conditions on County Road 7 at the Lake on the Mountain Resort entrances and Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park parking lot entrances;
- Review pedestrian volumes / movements and carry out pedestrian crossover warrant analysis;
- Consider traffic calming measures; and
- Provide recommendations and summarize the results
In the municipality’s Official Plan, County Road 7 is designated as an arterial roadway. And, as many are aware, since February 2021 parking has not been permitted along this stretch of roadway.
“It is understood through discussion with the County that most people visiting the provincial park (PP)will park in their parking lot to do sightseeing in the area surrounding the parking lot. They often cross County Road 7, walk to the observation deck, and then walk along the south side of County Road 7 to The Inn, or cross the road to The Miller House,” according to Chen. “People also park at the resort parking lot to do sightseeing in the area, walk along the south side of County Road 7 to The Inn or the PP, or cross the road to The Miller House or for sightseeing on the north side of the PP.”
The report also concludes, given that there are sightseeing attractions on either side of County Road 7, it can be expected that pedestrians will be crossing from either direction of that road.
Those visiting either the PP, the Miller House or the LOTM Resort can park either in the PP parking lot (for a fee during summer months), the Resort Parking lot or the two accessible parking spaces available beside Miller House. The PP lot contains 29 parking spaces while the Resort parking lot contains 44.
“It is understood that the Resort parking lot is restricted to patrons of the Resort, The Inn and The Miller House and is only required to provide 26 parking spots through Site Plan Control Agreement. Correspondence from a county resident to the County, dated October 5, 2021, indicates that there is a parking shortage in the area,” stated Chen. “Although a parking review has not been carried out as part of this study, based on the pedestrian volumes and the number of available parking spaces in the area, this is plausible.”
During the public information session, it became apparent there has only been one accident in the area of concern during last five years, according to Aynsley Osborne, Development Coordinator for the municipality. Though, this does not speak to the near-misses. Osborne asserted the municipality is attempting to act proactively to ensure more accidents do not occur in the future, given the County’s ever-increasing population.
In summary, the report suggests a level 2 type D pedestrian crossover is warranted and is recommended to be placed on the west side of the PP west entrance. And, given the high pedestrian volume in the area, it is suggested that a designated pedestrian walkway be provided on the north side of County Road 7 between the resort west entrance and the PP west entrance, as well as on the south side between the resort west entrance and the PP east entrance.
“In addition, should a pedestrian crossover be considered, it should be supported by walkway to lead pedestrians to and from the crossover. Where additional parking is required, a parking lane could be provided on the north and south sides of County Road 7. To enhance pedestrian safety, bollards/delineator posts and/or parking stops could be installed on County Road 7 between the parking lane and the pedestrian walkway. Where a parking lane is not provided, bollards/delineator posts and/or parking stops could be installed beside the travel lanes to direct pedestrians to the pedestrian crossover location,” according to Chen’s report.
If parking lanes are provided, it is recommended the posted speed limit be reduced to 40 km/h. A traffic signal does not appear to be warranted at this time.
Questions and comments from the audience were collected via Zoom messenger and will be considered as part of the staff report to be presented to council later this month.
The report did little to assuage the fear of some members of the public who voiced their concerns at the meeting.
“The No Parking zones allowed safe passage of pedestrians along the narrow sections of the road near the park and the Inn. Eliminating the No Parking zones will expose pedestrians closer to traffic. I am a daily walker in this area so I am speaking from my and my wife’s personal experiences,” commented Mike Gragtmans via Zoom messenger.
Meanwhile, other questioned the timing of the study.
“The pedestrian counts were conducted when roadside parking was banned. It appears that the recommendation is to restore roadside parking on both sides of CR7,” began Kelly McGillivray. “How will the presence of parking change the pedestrian patterns? Shouldn’t the patterns be studied again with the parking reinstated?”
Chen replied that, while this is a pedestrian safety study, not a parking study.
“I think that is something that will have to be looked into,” added Chen.