Amateur traffic planners

Early in the February 3, 2021 regular Council Meeting (around the 3 minute mark on the video), the three Councillors turned themselves into an ad hoc traffic management task force.

Councillor Westbroek, in addressing his Notice of Motion first tabled at the January 13, 2021 Council Meeting, said “I am concerned about when we do the [Memorial / Hwy 19A ] roundabout construction there will be a re-direction of traffic. … I am asking staff to consider whether it is appropriate to consider the installation of a 3-way stop sign at the intersection of Berwick Road and Crescent Road East.”

This $4 – 5 million dollar roundabout construction project has been in the works for years, and they are just now starting to think about traffic implications?

Two questions came to mind. First, couldn’t Councillor Westbroek have just picked up the phone and asked the appropriate staff person the question a month ago? Second, did Westbroek mean this to be a temporary or a permanent 3-way stop sign?

Discussion ensued. Mayor Wiese “chimed in with his two cents worth” suggesting a stop sign at St. Andrews Road and Crescent Road East .. “right close to where the golfers are so it would slow everyone down.”

Apart from the inappropriateness of this trio of traffic planning amateurs trying to micro-manage what is clearly a matter for staff to deal with, what exactly is the problem to be solved – Mitigate vehicular congestion caused by roundabout construction? Protect golfers? Slow everyone down?

Seems it’s about more than just the year of traffic congestion and bottlenecks caused by the roundabout construction. Westbroek stated “I do believe there is speeding going on at East Crescent, and with golfers, and with the construction of the roundabout, there’s going to be a problem.”

Councillor Harrison supported asking staff for a report, saying “We will get the information. We are starting a conversation .. about how traffic will be diverted for the roundabout construction. I am very glad we are doing this before anything happens.”

Traffic rerouted on Memorial Avenue for Waterfront roundabout contstruction. Thursday, February 18, 2021

Wow. They have a $4 – 5 million dollar roundabout construction project that has been in the works for years and they are just starting to think about traffic implications?  That raises serious concerns about the competence and completeness of the project planning. Either there has been no thorough analysis and design of traffic mitigation (suggesting it’s time to hire better planners), or there is a comprehensive plan, but no-one, including the Council, knows about it (suggesting there is a serious communication issue).

And when exactly is town engineer Bob Weir and his team going to tell the public and commercial carriers about what to expect in terms of road closures? When do they start? What time of the day? What days of the weeks? Which weeks?

But the most fundamental question has to be: Isn’t it a bit late in the game to be “starting the conversation”? On February 18, 2021 we noted that road closure and detours have already started.

On the topic of speeding, perhaps a point we made in an October 2020 Breakers segment bears repeating. We pay the RCMP $1.3 million dollars a year. If there is a speed limit law enforcement problem, tell them to solve it. Or, to be more politically correct, reach out and have a discussion with them about law enforcement priorities in our Town.