New housing along Hill Street prompts St. Clair to consider stop lights

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Hill and Queen Streets in Corunna.

St. Clair Township has put the brakes on a plan to put a pedestrian crosswalk at Hill and Queen Streets.

Instead, councillors will consider putting a stoplight at the intersection.
Last year, residents came to council asking for a stoplight. But a traffic study said there wasn’t enough traffic in the area to warrant it. But that was before the recent housing boom in Ontario.

Aileen Hamill spoke to council Monday saying with the expansion of a nearby subdivision, there are between 105 and 190 more cars using the intersection now than when council approved the pedestrian crosswalk. And she says there are more children in the area.

“Recently the new skateboard park has brought more pedestrian traffic to this intersection, with many children having to cross four lanes of Hill Street to access the park.

“We cannot rely on drivers to be paying attention and stop accordingly for flashing lights pedestrian crossover. Most drivers are not aware of the rules and possible fines associated with pedestrian crossovers,” she says.

“I do feel that drivers are more aware of responding to traffic lights and will adjust their driving accordingly.”

Hamill adds it is “extremely difficult to make left hand turns in all directions and intersections and the number of near miss accidents that I hear that I’ve witnessed is very concerning.”

Hamill brought council two petitions with nearly 500 names calling for the change.

And while traffic studies may not show the need for a traffic light in the area, Hamill reminded council another light on Hill Street was installed even though it didn’t meet the official threshold for traffic use to install the standard.

Councillor Pat Brown agreed with Hamill saying the engineers in the past had said the pedestrian crossover might need to be upgraded in the future.
“I believe the future is here with the added housing … at this point, we’re wasting money on a pedestrian crossing.”

Council agreed the matter to the 2023 budget talks in January.

When the move was first discussed, it was expected installing the lights would cost about $250,000. Staff says that installing a four way traffic signal will now cost about $400,000.

Meantime, the township will ask the company which was about to install the pedestrian crossing at Hill and Queen Street to install the crossing to Hill and Colborne instead.

Brown says the crossing is just up the road about a half kilometre and students are likely to try to cross there instead of walking to the traffic light.