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Staff to look at speed controls on Blue Dasher Boulevard

'I understand that some people feel like it might not be a high enough priority, but for us that live here, it’s our top priority,' says resident
Joe Giordano has started a petition that so far has 250 signatures, in hopes of getting speed bumps installed on Blue Dasher Blvd.

Speeders and transport trucks are in for a bumpy ride in Bradford West Gwillimbury.

At its June 21 meeting, council moved forward with several recommendations designed to improve traffic safety and the flow of vehicles through neighbourhoods in the municipality.

The meeting began with a delegation from Joe Giordano, a resident of Blue Dasher Booulevard, who recently launched a petition calling on the town to take immediate action to make the street safer.

He told councillors Blue Dasher Boulevard — known colloquially by some in the area as “Blue Danger” — is being used by motorists to bypass congested areas of Holland Street West, and that he and his neighbours can all relay instances of nearly being hit or being honked at by aggressive drivers. He also pointed to safety issues with the design of amenities in the roundabouts, and with on-street parking.

The most serious instance occurred June 3, when an impaired driver flipped his vehicle after striking a parked car. That spurred Giordano into action.

To date, his petition has the support of 91 per cent of the homes on Blue Dasher, agreeing to add speed bumps to the street, at a minimum, with more than 310 residents in the entire Summerlyn subdivision wanting to see the town use physical speed-mitigation tools, such as speed bumps, raised intersections or photo radar.

“I understand that some people feel like it might not be a high enough priority, but for us that live here, it’s our top priority,” Giordano said.

The issues on Blue Dasher made their way to the June 8 Community and Traffic Safety Committee meeting, where members recommended to council that staff reports be requested on potential speed-mitigation opportunities for the street and a “Drive like your child lives here” traffic signage initiative, alongside seeking additional speed signs for Blue Dasher.

The recommendation was passed unanimously. However, some councillors wanted to be far more measured in their response to Giordano’s petition than others.

Coun. Mark Contois, whose ward includes part of the area in question, along with Coun. Ron Orr, stressed the town had co-operated with the citizen requests in the area, including putting South Simcoe Police Service officers on radar duty along the street.

And while everyone may want a speed bump — including residents of Northgate Drive, where Contois lives — as a town, decisions must be made with the data as the key driver, he said.

“We have 25 other streets that are in worse condition — and the data proves it — than Blue Dasher,” Contois said. “Unfortunately, (there was) a drunk driver and the accident happened close to the actual roundabout. A speed bump wouldn’t have helped anyway.”

As simple as it would be to put a speed bump on every street where they’re requested, that cost is added to the tax bill of all residents in the municipality, he argued.

“At the end of the day, we have to justify the spending. Being a compassionate councillor, that’s fine … You have to be accountable as well,” he added. “When this committee makes decisions, it has to make decisions with data.”

Coun. Jonathan Scott suggested the recommendation from the traffic committee showcases a necessary balance between being data-driven and considering the wishes of the residents by finding “creative solutions” to try to fix the issue.

“We also have to listen to our residents and experts when they’re telling us they have a problem, weigh it all up together and try and find a solution,” he said. “Too often, levels of government can be accused of wanting to explain why the constituent is wrong rather than solve the problem.”

Council also approved a series of other recommendations from the traffic committee, including a staff report about the feasibility of a speed-management program where residents can purchase their own speed signs, and the purchase of a new speed camera, new radar signs and “slow” pavement decals.

Additional traffic-calming measures on Collings and Walker Avenues were approved.

On Collings, “slow” pavement markings will be placed at the north and south ends of the bollards on the street near the Fuller Park entrance. On Walker, the speed hump on the north end of the street will be replaced with a four-metre duration speed hump to match the one that will be installed at the south end.

Among the bylaws passed by council at the end of the meeting was the temporary ban of non-local transport trucks along Holland Street East and Holland Street West for the duration of the temporary patio program.

The ban — which does not include trucks making deliveries to local businesses — will be repealed Nov. 1.

— With files from Natasha Philpott