Town to review Pancake Lane traffic light

The town will take a second look at a pedestrian crossing signal at Pancake Lane and Pelham Street.

Pancake Lane resident Helen Wismer in presenting a 141 name petition to town council Monday said Pancake Lane has become a thoroughfare for traffic trying to get around downtown Fonthill.

During the 50 years she has lived there she has seen both the number of residents and traffic steadily increase. Drivers are also trying to avoid road construction on Regional Road 20.

She and her neighbours were delighted to see a traffic light go up, she said, but surprised when it turned into a crosswalk signal.

Public works director Alan Mannell said town council approved the pedestrian crossing light after mediation with area residents.

A study at the time showed there was not enough traffic to meet Ministry of Transportation warrants for a four-way signal light.

Ward 3 Coun. John Durley said, from knocking on doors in the area during the election campaign, “he has great input on this regard.”

Ward 3 Coun. Peter Papp said he had similar reaction and suggested taking another traffic flow study to determine if there has been a big increase since the last one two or three years ago.

Mannell said such a study and analysis would be done by a traffic expert. The cost to replace the signal with a four- way would probably be twice that of the pedestrian one.

Meanwhile, he said the town will complete painting of the crosswalk at the intersection and bike lanes along Pelham Street to slow down traffic.

Mayor Dave Augustyn said the town has talked to the local school board trustee about concerns over a reduction in school bus service in the area because of sidewalk and road improvements along Pelham Street.

Parents now have to walk children to school.

Durley suggested a study be done after construction on Regional Road 20 is completed to determine regular traffic flow.

In less than six hours over two days, Margaret Tilbert and Wismer collected 141 names.

Wismer said in an earlier interview the crosswalk light creates confusion.  Drivers are unsure, when they stop at a stop sign on Pancake Lane, whether they can turn left when the light is red for pedestrians crossing to their right.

Traffic backs up and drivers told them they wait up to 10 minutes trying to get through the increasingly busy intersection, she said.

“We had no trouble getting names,” said Tilbert. “People grabbed the papers from us to sign them.”

Area residents expected a standard four-way traffic light at the intersection, Wismer said.

“What were they thinking?” became a regular question during collection of names for the petition.

The Pancake Lane crossing is one of three pedestrian lights on Pelham Street that began to operate in September.  The others are at Spruceside Crescent and Church Hill.

The town worked with the Pelham Active Transportation Committee and the Parent Advisory Committee at Glynn A. Green Public School as well as area residents to determine safety improvements in the area. They include the lights, sidewalks, bike lanes and a narrowing of Pelham Street lanes as a speed reducing effort.

Parents now have to walk their children to Glynn A. Green Public School. The school board has cut school bus service saying new safety features such as sidewalk along Pelham Street makes it unnecessary.

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