Petawawa council not supportive of interim traffic measures 0
Petawawa mayor Bob Sweet believes that interim traffic measures on Petawawa Boulevard will send additional traffic down Mohns Avenue past a Catholic Board school.
PETAWAWA - Council says it won't support all the interim solutions the County of Renfrew is proposing to alleviate traffic congestion on Petawawa Boulevard.
In a presentation this week, the county's operations manager, Steve Boland, and the public works and engineering director, Dave Darch, reviewed with committee the findings of the Petawawa traffic study, a two-year examination of traffic patterns along the town's main corridor that was conducted by consulting firm AECOM.
The firm discovered that traffic peaked on the boulevard northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon. The study also identified delays at Victoria Street/Portage Road for westbound and northbound traffic in the morning and southbound traffic in the afternoon; delays at the Paquette Road/Festubert Boulevard/Menin Road intersection northbound in the morning and westbound and southbound in the afternoon.
The study concluded that traffic volume data from 2007, 2009 and 2010 found between 800 and 1,000 vehicles travelling northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon, which is pushing the limits of the capacity the road can handle. With the arrival of an additional 800 personnel in the new 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, those traffic complications will be exacerbated.
The county is therefore recommending that, based on AECOM's study, they establish a roundabout joining Paquette Road, Festubert Boulevard and Menin Road, just north of the current traffic signals leading into the base. The roundabout would include an eastbound right turn bypass and a northbound right turn bypass. Beyond a traffic circle, they recommend a westbound left turning lane onto Festubert, while extending the northbound right turning lane to the boulevard.
In the interim, they also want southbound motorists prohibited from turning left onto Victoria Street and eliminate westbound vehicles from turning left at Victoria. The county also proposes modifying the traffic signal timing at the Portage/Victoria intersection and the Paquette Road, Festubert Boulevard and Menin Road intersection.
Eliminating turns onto Victoria Street would only redirect traffic onto Mohns Avenue, said Mayor Bob Sweet sending 170 cars an hour through a 40-kilometre zone in front of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School. The additional traffic would aggravate the gridlock that is already experienced there, especially when school is dismissed and students are being picked up by buses and parents, he added.
Furthermore, the mayor noted one traffic circle may not be enough. In his experience, whenever he has driven in a community that employs roundabouts there have been more than one.
"I don't think you can solve the problem coming out of the base with one traffic circle. I need to be convinced of that," explained Mayor Sweet. "All you are doing in my mind is taking the problem and shoving it down the road."
Councillor Treena Lemay was also skeptical that these measures would resolve the Petawawa Boulevard gridlock. She noted that funding between all levels of government would have to be arranged adding the roundabout alone wouldn't come to fruition until 2014. She also warned against directing more traffic down Mohns Avenue explaining that the Petawawa Police Services Board, through the use of the Speed Awareness Monitor, has determined that many drivers do not observe the posted 40-kilometre an hour speed limit.
"I can't support the recommendations. An interim solution that creates more problems is not a solution," she said. "If you add 300 more cars, it's going to get worse."
Mr. Darch said that there is very little room for engineers to improve conditions until permanent measures can be put in place.
"Our option becomes do we just tolerate the status quo until we can do some of the longer term measures," he said.
The county's public works and engineering department hoped to conduct a pilot project in the spring and summer of 2013 before any final decisions are made.