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Council members think safety first in school and daycare zone

Staff report recommending no all-way stop for intersection overruled by council
stop sign turl 2016
File photo

City council members felt it was better to be safe than sorry, when it comes to the lives of young children.

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, council voted to have an all-way stop sign installed at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Grant Street in Schumacher, even though a staff report said it wasn’t warranted due to traffic counts.

But Schumacher Public School is located at the northwest corner of the three-way intersection. A daycare operation is slated to open there this fall.

“Based on the data collected for this intersection, current traffic and pedestrian volumes does not qualify the intersection for an all-way stop,” read the report from the engineering department. “In addition, during our analysis, we did have a comment from a local resident stating that at the Fourth Avenue and Vipond Road intersection, vehicles are not coming to a full stop. As such, this would be giving pedestrians a false security that drivers are stopping.”

The recommendation was based on province-wide standards for stop signs based on traffic and pedestrian volumes. Members of council strongly felt the safety of youngsters was more important than adhering to standards.

“I would rather see someone roll through a stop sign (a rolling stop) rather than go through at 40 km/hr,” said Coun. Joe Campbell. “This is a straight safety issue easily resolved by council. A daycare is opening up there in September, which changes the parameters of the intersection."

“This is a safety issue for kids from all over the City of Timmins, ages 2-5 or 6.”

Because the traffic counts were done during the summer, council members also believed they would increase once school reopens and the daycare facility is operational.

The study was conducted during the summer because it was requested after school closed for the year. Given the timing of the original request, Coun. Kristin Murray suggested that council should have just directed the installation of a stop sign in the first place, rather than asking for a report.

Mayor George Pirie said staff did their homework properly for the report, but backed council’s decision to put safety first.

“We must remember that Mr. Seguin (city engineer) was doing exactly what was instructed by council, which was to conduct a traffic study,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was done in July, which is not the optimum time to do a traffic study around daycares and schools."

“I think Coun. Murray hit the nail on the head. We probably shouldn’t have requested a study in the first place and just put it (stop sign) there, something that delays people by a few seconds.”