PICKERING -- A new traffic signal could be on the way for Valley Farm Road after several residents asked council to increase safety for vehicles and pedestrians in the area.
The upgrade to a full signal at Valley Farm and the Esplanade South will be included in 2013 budget deliberations, scheduled to begin in February.
Rod Mason, a Valley Farm Road resident, spoke to council at its Dec. 10 meeting about safety issues in the area, noting both he and his daughter have experienced near collisions at the Valley Farm intersection.
“I think a lot of drivers come from around the region and don't understand what exists at that intersection,” Mr. Mason said of the existing pedestrian signal and stop signs, which he says many drivers roll through.
A previous staff recommendation to upgrade the signal to a full four-way stop light was rejected by councillors during an executive committee meeting Dec. 3, where they voted instead to install a pedestrian crossing at Glenanna Road and the Esplanade North.
“I attended the executive committee meeting where a recommendation for a full signal was considered, and much to my surprise the recommendation was not approved,” Mr. Mason said. “I would respectfully request this matter be revisited, reconsidered and hopefully approved.”
In response to community concerns, council voted to approve the original recommendation for a full signal on Valley Farm Road, and abandoned the idea of a pedestrian crosswalk on Glenanna.
PICKERING -- Councillors are debating how best to improve pedestrian safety in the area surrounding City Hall after complaints from several residents.
At an executive committee meeting on Dec. 3 councillors debated a staff report looking at options to improve pedestrian safety. Councillor David Pickles had requested the information after complaints from several residents of condo towers along the Esplanade North and Valley Farm Road.
Although suggestions for pedestrian crosswalks at either the Avonmore Square or Esplanade North intersections with Valley Farm Road and on Glenanna Road at the Esplanade North were not supported in the report, staff did recommend installing a four-way traffic signal at Valley Farm and the Esplanade South, which would replace the existing pedestrian crossing signal.
Chuck Kent, president of Durham Condominium Corporation 93, told council a traffic signal would help alleviate residents' concerns.
“We're in full support of this proposal, we've been talking about it within our group of condominiums, about the extremely unsafe corner due to that light, I know I've experienced near misses there,” he explained, noting he would also like to see the idea of crosswalks given more support.
“Along with that discussion about safety within the community, we are trying to put forward the idea of the crosswalk within Valley Farm. I thought due to the number of seniors crossing in that location, it might be a wise idea. It's not just seniors, everyone's safety is at risk.”
Councillors amended the motion to exclude the option for a full signal at Valley Farm and the Esplanade South, instead voting to request staff to install a pedestrian crosswalk at the Esplanade North and Glenanna Road.
“I'm hearing this is a safety issue,” said Coun. Doug Dickerson, who tabled the crosswalk option.
“I don't think a full signalization would make the intersection any safer that what's there now, if people can't understand a pedestrian light they're not going to pay attention to a full signal. I think an additional crosswalk is needed.”
Councillors voted to support the recommendation, which will come before council for a final vote on Dec. 10. Coun. Pickles plans to bring the option to signalize the existing crosswalk back for consideration at that time.
“The issue is we have a pedestrian signal there now and that gives a red to oncoming traffic, but a lot of people are confused because it's not a four-way stop,” Coun. Pickles explained.
“When people are confused you get more accidents, so I'd still like to see a full signal there for safety reasons.”
PICKERING -- Council is asking for a review of traffic issues in Pickering's downtown core after complaints from residents.
Councillor David Pickles introduced a motion requesting staff review traffic issues in the area of Valley Farm Road and Glenanna Road around Pickering's downtown core, which includes amenities such as the Pickering Recreation Centre, Pickering Town Centre and City Hall, during a council meeting on Sept. 18.
“We have seen some very good growth in our downtown area,” Coun. Pickles said, noting the area has seen condo development along with community buildings and now the Pickering pedestrian bridge.
“I think we need to comprehensively think about what that means when you get a lot of people into a denser area.”
Coun. Pickles said the motion was inspired by numerous complaints from residents on Valley Farm Road and the North Esplanade, specifically regarding traffic speed and volume and safety concerns for pedestrians crossing busy streets including Kingston Road.
“I think rather than looking at every intersection and crossing in isolation it would be good to have a more fulsome look and decide how we're going to address these issues where we have a lot of people crossing the street with a lot of cars,” he said. “That way we can see if there's a few things we could do to solve some of the issues.”
Coun. Doug Dickerson, who seconded the motion, stressed that the number of seniors in the area, which includes several condo buildings and a retirement community, creates a need for safe pedestrian crossings.
“This is a question of the number of vehicles and the number of seniors trying to cross the wider roads we have built to accommodate all those cars,” he said. “We have to be cognizant of the fact that seniors are not going to move as fast as young people.”
Council voted unanimously to direct staff to review and report back to council on possible safety improvements in the area.
PICKERING -- The City of Pickering and Durham Region are working together to bring amenities to one of the city's newest neighbourhoods as residents struggle with traffic and other headaches.
Residents of a new development at Brock Road and William Jackson Drive will soon be able to turn out of their neighbourhood safely after officials prioritized the installation of traffic lights at the intersection.
“There are back-ups and people will be honking trying to make you go when you shouldn't, it's dangerous,” said Keith Hunter, who was one of the first residents to move into the neighbourhood in April of this year, of the intersection at Brock and William Jackson and Dersan Street.
“I saw it coming when I first bought this house, before it was even built,” Mr. Hunter explained.
“I could tell it was going to be a dangerous intersection and I was hoping the builder would do something about it before anyone moved in.”
Because Brock is a regional road, any installation of traffic signals was left to the Region of Durham, which scheduled the new signal for 2013. Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan and City Councillor David Pickles approached the Region in June to speed up the process.
“Once we heard it was going to take a year or more, we knew we had to do something,” Coun. Pickles explained of the lights, which are now scheduled to be installed by October.
“The way it is now, people get frustrated and impatient and try to squeeze out into too small a space, there's bound to be an accident. Speeding up the traffic signal is going to be a really big help.”
The City is also moving quickly to install other neighbourhood amenities. While a bus route has already been set up through the neighbourhood, Coun. Pickles estimates that a park and soccer field as well as a community square near the front of the development should be completed by the end of the summer.
For Mr. Hunter, the new elements will make a big difference in the neighbourhood. “They're turning it from a construction site into a community,” he said.
PICKERING -- Residents may soon have a solution to concerns about drivers speeding down Major Oaks Road.
At an executive committee meeting on April 11, councillors approved a recommendation from staff that would see three new all-way stops in the high traffic area of Major Oaks Road and Dellbrook Avenue, home to two schools and several parks.
“I am very pleased to have three all-way stop locations now supported by the committee,” said councillor David Pickles, who put forward a motion requesting four new stops last year after receiving several complaints from residents who were concerned about children crossing the street safely.
“About 80 per cent of responding residents in the area supported the all-way stops,” he continued.
“Once installed, children and other pedestrians will have safer crossings to get to school and parks.”
Staff sent out a letter requesting resident input on proposed stops to nearly 2,600 homes and received 59 replies, or about 2.3 per cent of residents. Of those who replied, 80 per cent were in favour of the proposed stop signs.
The proposed stop signs would be located at Major Oaks Road and Duberry Drive, Major Oaks and Greenmount Street and Dellbrook Avenue at Meriadoc Drive. Several residents also expressed support for a fourth stop at Dellbrook and Denby Drive, but staff nixed the idea because of issues with the sight lines and grade of the intersection.
The issue will come before council for final approval Monday, April 16. Should the recommendation be approved, stop signs would be installed by the beginning of the new school year in September.
As I commented to residents, there are a number of traffic and pedestrian safety improvements I have been pursuing including: sidewalks along Kingston Road, intersection improvements and community Centre parking lot in Claremont, playground at Nature Haven Drive, guiderail on Valley Farm Road, new bridge and lighting in Whitevale, all-way stops on Dellbrook Drive and Major Oaks Road, consideration of all-way stops on Hogarth Sreet and Woodview Drive, repair of railway crossings, and improvements to 6th Concession Road and Greenridge Drive in Greenwood to name a few.
PICKERING -- Residents in the area of Major Oaks Road and Dellbrook Avenue, where a crossing guard was clipped by a car this fall, will have to continue waiting for new stop signs.
“All you'll get from me now is anger,” said resident Joe Zullo of a council decision to defer a recommendation from city staff to install three new stop signs in the area.
“This really goes over the top; why delay it? We've already said this is what we want, now we've got to wait longer. A crossing guard has already been hit by a car, and no one was held accountable. If someone gets hurt while we're waiting, I'm going to hold council accountable.”
Mr. Zullo addressed council previously in October regarding concerns with the lack of stop signs along Dellbrook Avenue and Major Oaks Road, a situation he said is creating danger for pedestrians trying to cross the street in between speeding vehicles. Although the crossing guard who was clipped, Nadine Vangelisti, escaped the encounter with bruising and soreness, Mr. Zullo worries that the next incident could be much more serious.
“We've told them as a community we need this taken care of,” Mr. Zullo said, noting speeding and safe crossing have been issues since he moved to the area 10 years ago. “I drive these streets every day and the fact of the matter is we need stop signs.”
Councillor David Pickles put forward a motion requesting four new stop signs in the area in October. At the City's executive committee meeting on Dec. 5, councillors debated a staff report recommending three new stop signs at Major Oaks Road and Greenmount Street, Major Oaks and Duberry Drive and Dellbrook Avenue at Meriadoc Drive. While Coun. Pickles supported the recommendation, he was concerned that one location suggested in his motion, at Dellbrook and Denby, was passed over for a stop, since many children cross there on their way to St. Anthony Daniel school.
“I do think this fourth site is going to continue to be an issue,” he said.
Staff recommended signs be installed in April to allow for community consultation, which staff did not have time to complete before the report was due to come back to council.
“I would recommend that last step be allowed and maybe the bylaw not be passed until we can come back and say we've consulted with the community,” said Richard Holborn, head of engineering services for the City.
“I don't think it's a good time of year to install new all-way stops because of road conditions, so if we're able to come back in March and indicate results of consultation and have signs installed in April I think that would be more appropriate.”
A motion to defer the recommendation back to staff for consultation, put forward by Coun. Jennifer O'Connell, was passed by councillors.
“How can we support this if we haven't gone out to the community and haven't got their feedback?” she said.
“The whole point of consultation is to make sure these are the most appropriate locations for the community so I have serious concerns with approving anything, unless it's just in principle, because essentially what we're doing is approving something then going out letting the community know. That's not consultation, that's education.”
While he was angry at the delay, Mr. Zullo noted that the recommendations would be an improvement.
“I think the fact that they excluded Denby and Dellbrook was an oversight, any way you look at it, it deserves a stop sign,” he said.
“But I like the recommendations. The new stops are going to be an improvement. We have nothing right now so anything is going to be a step in the right direction.”
PICKERING -- Residents looking for relief from what they call a dangerous pedestrian situation in the Major Oaks area could get a solution as council voted to have staff look at the situation.
A number of residents turned out to a regular council meeting on Oct. 17 to express their concerns with the lack of pedestrian crossings along Dellbrook Avenue and Major Oaks Road in Pickering, which they say results in a dangerous situation for pedestrians trying to cross the busy streets.
“Our major concern is pedestrians trying to cross Dellbrook and Major Oaks, especially because there's some blind corners,” said Joe Zullo, who has lived in the area for almost 10 years.
“It happens a lot where pedestrians start to cross the street and have to turn back running because of a car speeding by; it's certainly very hair hair-raising.”
Mr. Zullo acknowledged that speed plays a part in the problem, but said pedestrian safety is the major concern.
“I wouldn't say it's an issue of epidemic proportion but it certainly needs to be addressed,” he said of the speed of vehicles.
“Prior to coming tonight I spoke to a number of my neighbours and pretty much everyone shares concern in this pedestrian issue. Some people have been there since ground was broken on this subdivision and crossing has been a problem since day one. I'm there every morning getting my kids off to school and watching people come across the street to bus stops or to catch a school bus and it's a torturous affair.”
Mr. Zullo's neighbour Tim Wood was also at the meeting, and described how the dangerous crossing situation has affected his own family.
“Outside my home dozens of people use bus stops, including students,” he said of stops located near his home at the intersection of Dellbrook and Denby Drive.
“The corner is somewhat blind due to parking and the grade of the hill and I've witnessed students having to run across the street to avoid being struck. My personal experience with this issue concerns my own family. My own daughter, as well as my neighbours' children have been put in danger by cars moving quickly around this corner.”
Mr. Wood urged councillors to consider a motion put forward by Councillor David Pickles asking staff to look at the feasibility of installing stop signs or pedestrian crossings at some of the major intersections along the two streets. Currently there are no stop signs on either Major Oaks or Dellbrook from Brock Road west for about one kilometre to the intersection of the two streets, which is located just east of Valley Farm Road.
“We have a subdivision of thousands of people, with two schools, three parks and a plaza, two streets in excess of one kilometre and only one four-way stop,” Coun. Pickles explained.
“That's just not appropriate, we have to have more safe crossing locations. The motion we are looking at this evening is to ask staff to review safe crossing opportunities in the neighbourhood, noting that presently there's only one, and report back.”
Councillors engaged in a debate over whether to request staff to conduct public consultation, which passed after much deliberation. Mayor Dave Ryan took the opportunity to call councillors to task for the ongoing debate over a simple motion.
“This is embarrassing,” Mayor Ryan said. “All this to-ing and fro-ing and back and forth is embarrassing. This is a straightforward question from the community. As the residents say, it's dangerous and they want staff and council to respond to it. This is a straightforward motion asking staff to go out and do their job.”
Council voted to approve the recommendation, which will see a report on the situation, including possible solutions, coming back to council at a future meeting.
Mr. Woods said he was glad to see the motion pass, but was still waiting on concrete action in terms of implementing a solution.
“I think they're moving in the right direction,” he explained. “I just hope to see it come to fruition soon.”
PICKERING -- Residents will no longer have to risk their safety when walking along sections of Kingston Road after council approved the installation of temporary sidewalks.
On Monday, July 11, councillors approved a tender to install asphalt paving along the south side of Kingston Road between Walnut Lane and Glendale Drive in order to address accessibility and mobility needs. The move is part of an ongoing process to fix several sidewalk gaps along Kingston Road that have forced residents to walk along the gravel shoulder of the busy thoroughfare.
“I'm pleased we've got something coming forward here since council for many years has talked about gradually putting those sidewalks into place,” said Councillor Doug Dickerson.
“This sidewalk is another aspect of putting in those pieces of the puzzle. As the sidewalk proceeds westward my suspicion is we're going to have to tunnel under the railroad tracks and knowing the length of that process is that something we are undertaking?”
Pickering CAO Tony Prevedel said the installation of sidewalks would be an ongoing process and tunnelling under the track would likely be looked at in the future.
“We have the entire length of sidewalk missing links along Kingston Road that myself and staff are reviewing,” he explained.
“You're absolutely right, further to the west in order to get the sidewalk in it's going to require a pedestrian tunnel, which will probably be a very expensive section of sidewalk. At this point we have put $250,000 in the 2011 budget to start the process of fixing these links because as the Region moves forward with planned urbanization they will be putting in concrete walks along those areas. So at this time we are not actively pursuing a tunnel.”
Several councillors praised the project, noting that completed sidewalks have been an ongoing goal of council for several years.
“I have supported this vision to complete sidewalks on both sides of Kingston Road and this certainly fills a big hole,” said Councillor David Pickles.
“This has been a priority for many years and it's very nice to see this being done. This project is a big step to reaching our goal and will be well used by pedestrians, bikes and strollers.”
The new sidewalk will be a temporary asphalt path that will eventually be replaced with proper concrete sidewalks once development in the area moves forward. The project will cost $115,135.
PICKERING -- Pickering does a good job promoting safety in the community, according to Safe Communities Canada,
Mayor Dave Ryan presented CAO Tony Prevedel and Marisa Carpino, supervisor culture and recreation, with the National Ambassador for Safety Community Service Partner Award at the latest council meeting. The award, which was announced by Safe Communities Canada in the fall, recognizes a community group, government entity or charity that has made a significant contribution to promoting a culture of safety and reducing the risk of injury.
Pickering is one of 47 Safe Communities across Canada. The national charitable organization is dedicated to helping communities build the capacity and resources they'll need to commit to safety initiatives.
The organization's president Paul Kells said in a press release the City, from council to employees, has gone beyond the call to make the community a safe play to live, work and play.
“The fact that through their Swim to Survive program, which targets Grade 3 students, providing them with the skills to survive in water, reaches over 1,300 children, proves this commitment like none other.” he said.
According to the press release, Pickering has been a leader in community safety since 2002 when it introduced its First Response program, which involved training first response teams in first aid and CPR within all City facilities. More than 100 City staff members are trained in first aid, CPR and defibrillation. There are 12 public access defibrillators in various City locations, at least one in each facility.
Kingston Road sidewalk network's time has come in Pickering.
Pickering councillors are thinking with their feet -- to the benefit of citizens from the east side of the Millennium City to the west.
City councillors last week ...
See the full article here.
PICKERING -- In the coming years, Pickering residents should be able to walk along Kingston Road comfortably and safely, from Toronto to Ajax if they want to.
It's not uncommon to see mothers pushing strollers, cyclists walking bikes, residents with mobility issues using wheelchairs and people of all ages from seniors to youth walking along the unpaved shoulder on Pickering's main street, Kingston Road.
But council unanimously hopes that will change and the puzzle will soon be pieced together.
Council has supported Ward 3 City Councillor David Pickles's motion that Pickering become connected from Toronto in the west to Ajax in the east with sidewalks, making the entire road accessible for pedestrians throughout Pickering.
“The vision is to have safe, continuous sidewalks on both sides of Kingston Road, our main street, from Toronto to Ajax,” said Coun. Pickles.
Staff will prepare an inventory of the sidewalk network on Kingston Road and a plan identifying gaps and deficiencies in the network, will consider bike routes, and recommend priorities to council in time for the 2011 budget.
Ward 2 Regional Councillor Bill McLean pointed out the lack of sidewalks along the road from Whites Road to Liverpool Road.
“It scares the heck out of me to see trucks and cars whiz by, getting so close to these people,” he said.
The sidewalk won't be linked immediately, but the plan will help the City budget for an earlier completion rather than the current piecemeal approach of creating sidewalks alongside development.
All members of council agreed.
“There are few things council agrees on unanimously but Kingston Road and sidewalks affect every ward,” said Ward 1 City Councillor Jennifer O'Connell.
Ward 1 Regional Councillor Bonnie Littley had similar thoughts.
“It's dangerous and we definitely need to do something about that,” she said, referring to often seeing a woman pushing a stroller on the shoulder near Walnut Lane.
Coun. O'Connell appreciated bike lanes being listed in the motion, and suggested putting in clear and distinct bike lanes, such as using curbs rather than simple lines.
“We've seen that bike lanes don't get used if it's simply a line painted on a shoulder,” she said.
Ward 3 Regional Councillor Rick Johnson expressed difficulty with using taxpayers' money for something that development charges should fund, but said he would support the initiative because the sidewalk is needed and the bottom line is safety and accessibility.
Coun. Pickles said the City has waited long enough for the sidewalks to be improved along the regional road, and added some areas without sidewalks, such as the south side of Kingston Road close to Denmar Road, will most likely never be developed and could never get a sidewalk if the City doesn't take initiative.
“We're just going to have to bite the bullet and do it,” he said.
If staff comes back with a three- to five-year plan, that will allow the City to set aside money each year and get Pickering on its way to having a fully accessible sidewalk for all, he said
PICKERING -- It's official: Rover and Fido will be able to run freely with other leash-free dogs at a location council approved early Tuesday morning.
For three years, the dog park working group has been working with the City of Pickering to find an appropriate location for the city's first off-leash dog park that would be safe for residents, children and dogs, and nuisance-free for nearby homeowners.
“The goal is to make this park a success, not an area of concern,” working group member Nicole Scarlett said at a recent executive committee meeting.
After many other locations were rejected, council unanimously approved the location of Grand Valley Park, lands owned by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, west of Valley Farm Road and south of Third Concession Road, to house the park. The 41-hectare area has been used by dog walkers and as an access to the Seaton Hiking Trail in recent years. It will contain a fenced-in park, a parking lot and remaining areas will be reviewed for possible future uses such as new public trail loops and connections.
The City had originally intended for Pickering's first dog park to be a pilot project, but staff and council hope it'll become permanent since they've found an ideal location.
The TRCA has approved the use of the land and the park will go ahead as long as staff approves the site plan.
Why is this important?
As a result, the actions of those at fault become everyone's problem! Therefore, we are encouraging businesses, residents and City staff to be part of the solution by taking an active approach.
Since the program was launched a significant amount of effort has gone into getting the word out to as many people as possible using various means. This is an essential component to the overall success of the program. Since the program was launched 3½ months ago there have been 140 incidents reported by 109 callers. The majority of the calls (58%) pertain to graffiti. It is important that graffiti is reported because some of it that we may simply view as symbols, numbers and letters done by “taggers” or “kids being kids” could actually be gang messaging. All graffiti incidents are photographed and documented in a Graffiti Inventory. The Inventory is submitted to the Durham Regional Police Service.
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Call Customer Care toll free at 1.877.420.4666
I am pleased that we continue to make our parks, neighbourhoods and streets safer.
Many Ward 3 parks have been upgraded in recent years. New equipment was installed at Brock Ridge Park, Centennial Park, Major Oaks Park, Beechlawn Park, Whitevale Park, Village East Park, Green River Park, Denmar Park, Claremont Park and Forest Glen Park, Summerpark Crescent Park, and more recently in Woodview Tot lot, Beverley Morgan and Greenwood Park.
Also, new traffic signals have been installed at Valley Farm Road/Fieldlight Blvd (IPS), Valley Farm Road/Pickering Parkway, Twyn Rivers Drive/Woodview Avenue, Bainbridge Drive/Kingston Road, Rosefield Road/Finch Avenue and Rosebank Road/Strouds Lane intersections, as well as many road improvement projects.
As a member of the Ajax-Pickering Police Liaison Committee, I can report that the Durham Regional Police Service is stepping up its presence in our community to combat the disturbing increase in violent bullying-type street crime. The Police have had success as demonstrated by Operation Eradicate that resulted in a number of arrests and lowered the number of assaults and robberies in the area.
Another priority to me is completing our sidewalks network, particularly in areas heavily used by youth and other pedestrians such as school and other main routes where there are presently no sidewalks.
Traffic issues continue to be of major concern to many of your friends and neighbours. The excessive speed of vehicles and the disobeyance of stop signs remains the number one complaint I receive. We should all consider how our driving affects the safety of our neighbourhood streets.
As a means to help address these issues the City launched the Neighbourhood Traffic Watch and Road Watch Programs in partnership with the Durham Regional Police Service and resident volunteers. These are awareness campaigns that give local residents the tools to help combat unsafe driving on their neighborhood streets.
The City has also completed a Safer Streets Traffic Management Strategy to better guide the City in using traffic signage, speed limits, traffic signals and traffic calming measures like speed humps.
The City decided to implement a 40km/h maximum speed limit for residential streets. The majority of the streets subject to the maximum 40km/h limits have now been posted. Please remember the maximum speed on most other City streets is 50 km/h (whether posted or not), including the northern rural roads. To report problems in parks or to learn more about safer streets programs please contact City staff at 905-420-4630.
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