Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I have some updates on converstations with folks from Highland Secondary School, which I will post soon, as well as some new photos of the roadway.
I think rather than try and make all the suggestions about what needs to happen, I will coast a bit (like these local cyclists on Governors) while waiting to hear from city staff about what they think will make things safer for kids on this stretch of road.
Shouldn't that be their job? (and why we need to make sure it happens?)
Monday, October 23, 2006
The key stretch of road linking three schools is, according to mapquest, less than a one minute drive.
When we think in terms of slowing traffic through this school zone, we should keep in mind the trade off between speed and safety.
Slowing things a little can mean a lot for children and others crossing this road.
- large percentage "about 90%" of children are bussed to the school
- only a few students walk
- they use the crossing guard at Creighton/Governors
- it would be useful to have a pedestrian activated signal/crossing between Highland School and St. Bernadettes (there is a long stretch with no crossings between Bridlewood and Creighton)
- she hasn't spoken to the city about traffic - her concern "is in our driveway, not a lot of our kids go beyond the driveway.")
Other contact - I left another voice mail for the principal at Highland seeking info about their plans, and for a contact number for the Parent's Council.
Councillor Samson's office replied to my prompt for a response from city staff about my earlier questions, so I expect something in the near future.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News (Oct 20, 2006)
Two key issues that will face Dundas' new city councillor after the Nov. 13 municipal election are safety on Governor's Road and the role of community councils.
This week, outgoing councillor Art Samson suggested to the Dundas Star News that dealing with Governor's Road traffic and safety, doing a better job getting public input on two upcoming school closures and the ongoing Dundas Driving Park master plan are three key issues that will affect the community over the next few years.
Mr. Samson said he has started the ball rolling for a review of crossing guards near a new school planned for Governor's Road, an environmental assessment for a possible roundabout at Davidson Boulevard or Pirie Drive and a study for a possible school speed zone. But if any of those things actually succeed, it will have to happen during the next councillor's term.
And all four candidates say they've heard about it from residents.
Peggy Chapman believes badly planned housing development around Governor's Road is to blame.
And Davidson Boulevard as the only way out of a large neighbourhood causes traffic problems.
"If we're going to build, let's grow smart. I'm big on smart development," Ms. Chapman said. "Maybe there could be another artery or road out of there." [um, roads are the problem, not the solution here]
Ms. Chapman said local residents aren't getting much help from city hall, but she thinks bad development in the area can still be stopped.
"Let's not make mistakes if we don't have to. Let's build it smart," she said.
Keith Sharp said a pedestrian-controlled stoplight has been suggested for a Governor's Road crossing, but he thinks that would just cause more problems.
"There's no easy solution," Mr. Sharp said. "The traffic specialists need to look at it." [yes, and talk to the community about it so we don't get left out of the decision-making process]
Russ Powers said while he was on city council prior to his federal stint, he submitted a plan for improvements to Governor's Road.
"It's my intention to continue to press for that," Mr. Powers said. [Are we supposed to know his plans? I just sent an e-mail to his campaign asking to see what he is proposing ]
Julia Kollek said she asked city staff about building a covered pedestrian bridge that would carry students across Governor's Road and into the new elementary school.
She was told that would cost about $300,000, but Ms. Kollek thinks a cost-benefit analysis - comparing the bridge to the cost to bus hundreds of students for years - should be done before discounting the idea. [human nature - people won't use it, they'll find the shortest most direct route - slow traffic first with some proper engineering moves]
Ms. Kollek also suggested shuttle buses could be used to carry students from specific drop-off points, eliminating some parent's cars from the busy thoroughfare. [how about improved transit routing and bus passes for students?]
Thursday, October 19, 2006
- the board had to submit a transportation study to the city for approval - the city has that now. [I will try and get info about this]
- according to the board project manager for the Dundas West School, the person at the city they are working with is Ken D'Andre, Business Facilitator. After speaking with him today on the phone, it seems most of the planning is focused on the intersection of Governors and Bridlewood, and not likely to include traffic calming elsewhere on the road. More on that later. I've got a call in to Tanya McKenna to find out more. Ken also told me that city staff in the Urban Design Section would be the ones working on safe pedestrian routes, so that should be interesting to find out about)
- So far the board and the local councillor have agreed on flashing lights (see earlier post on concerns about effectiveness) for the school zone.
- As far as information about the new school, there is currently nothing on the web about it, they are behind schedule to have a web site due to turn-around in staff at the board.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
An experiment? Traffic flow was slowed by the presence of this work vehicle parked on the centre line of Governors Road (just west of Creighton) for several hours - the physical presence of the truck (and the warning signage) forced vehicles to proceed carefully. This same result could be achieved with a traffic median/island at this location as part of traffic calming measures to create safer pedestrian/cycling environments east of the school zone.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
National Survey Reveals Nearly Two-Thirds of Drivers Speed in School Zones, Suggesting Neglect of Child Pedestrians Community Wide
(October 4, 2000) — According to a national survey released today by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, the majority of motor vehicles in school zones exceed the speed limit. The prevalence of speeding around schools, where safety measures exist, suggests that drivers are even more neglectful in residential areas.
(Source: USA Safe Kids)
We need to consider this:
When slowing or ‘calming’ traffic, the right design invites the right driver response. The guiding principle of traffic calming is to influence motorist speeds and behavior through good design whenever possible, rather than by traffic control measures such as traffic signals and STOP signs.
There are many design and engineering tools that can be used to slow down traffic and make it safer for children to walk and bicycle to school including:
Chokers and chicanes
Raised pedestrian crosswalks
Neighborhood traffic circles
Reduced corner radii
Speed sensitive signals
because of this:
Let's not be distracted by flashing lights as a full response to safety for people walking and cycling to school. A further consideration: safety should transcend school hours to create full time security for residents of the area.
Monday, October 16, 2006
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13 I left messages for
- The prinicipal at St. Bernadettes
- Highland Secondary (looking for the Highland Parents Council)
- City Traffic's Ron Gallo (Director of signals)
- Jessica Brennan (Public School Trustee)
- Helene Tanguay and Brian Hollingsworth who are staff/consultants on the city's Transportation master plan.
- Jessica Brennan e-mailed back and left her phone number to discuss this issue (playing phone tag right now)
- The principal at St. Bernadettes called back Friday when I was out. I called Monday morning and left another message.
- Who are the city staff working on design?
- Is there going to be an EA process?
- Is traffic calming being considered (beyond the flashing lights)?
- How is the public to be involved in the process?
- The GRIDS drawings for this area showed bicycle lanes or some such treatment - is this being done now for the new school?
Hart Solomon email@example.com
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Point B on the map is the site of St. Bernadette School, between B and C is Highland Secondary School (also on the same, i.e south, side of Governors) and just at the south west corner of C is the site of the new elementary school (so far referred to as Dundas West School). That's three schools on this one, straight stretch of road that police have noted is a speeding hot spot.
The proposed roundabout would be to the west of the schools. The traffic calming should be focused between the traffic roundabout in the west and Creighton to the East, where much of the pedestrian traffic originates.
(click on the map to get a bigger image)
Governor's Road gets bus service during weekday rush hour, then a bus once an hour at other times during the day, and no service after 10pm or so during the week. There is no bus service on Governors on weekends.
A further complication is the poor internal bus routing in Dundas - high school students wishing to take a city bus to school have no real direct service between the schools and where many of them live (ex. Downtown, York Road, Pleasant View).
If we want people to become less dependent on their cars we need to provide alternatives. Improved bus service, bicycle lanes and pleasant, safe walking routes combined with traffic calming can deliver. We just need to put things in place.
HSR Main Page
Friday, October 13, 2006
1850 - 1950 Centennial Celebration page 193
The first road constructed in the Township was the Governor’s Road, in fact this was the first road in the Province of Upper Canada, and was commenced by Governor Simcoe in 1793. It was cleared by the early settlers and built by the soldiers as a military road.
THE GOVERNOR’S ROAD
Contributed by Beverley Boyce. Unique in that it is in the First Person Singular.
I first existed as an Indian trail that led through dense forests and swampy land. Joseph Brant, chief of the Mohawks and the war leader of the Six Nations, used me on his trips to Lake Ontario. I have saved them many miles of travel around by Lake Erie, and the treacherous Niagara River, and Lake Ontario.
In 1793, I felt very honoured to have Sir John Graves Simcoe, one of the greatest men Canada has ever known, select me as the route of the road to eventually join the St. Lawrence, York (Toronto) and London on the Le Trenche River (Thames River). Then I was known as they way of the warrior.
I was officially christened Monday, August 23rd, 1793, by Capt. Smith, who named me Dundas Street, to commemorate Henry Dundas, Secretary of State of the Imperial Government. Capt. Smith accompanied by one hundred men, went to clear the road surveyed by Mr. Augustus Jones, Deputy-Surveyor of Stoney Creek, who lived on the site of what was known as the “Salt Works Farm.”
In order to have the land on both sides of me cleared for the road builders, my father gave grants of land to members of the Queen’s Rangers, King’s Regiment and Butler’s Regiment. They were given the grant on three conditions: (i) they must clear thirty-three feet on their side of the surveyor’s line for the road; (ii) they must clear five acres of land; (iii) they must grow enough food to feed the soldiers, who came to build me and be able to shelter them.
My health in my childhood was not the best by any means. I had many sore spots on my body which took the form of quagmires, not to mention the rough corduroy which gave my travelers many a backache and headache. I will describe the construction of a corduroy road to you.
“Whole trees were sacrificed to form a corrugated causeway on their round trunks laid side by side, over which wagons were slowly dragged or bumped, any attempt at speed being checked by immediate symptoms of approaching dissolution in the vehicles.”
The first steam engine for the Grand Trunk Railway was drawn over me by oxen, to Copetown. The railway was built from Copetown to Dundas instead of being built from Dundas to Copetown. The engine was used to pull the “fill” cars back and forth. The story goes, that an engine is buried in the quicksand in the vicinity of Copetown.
My present surface was given to me in 1940 for which I am very grateful. I have now become the King’s Highway No. 99. Now, I am generally used by followers of the peaceful art of farming, and the present pastime of bicycling or driving.
To commemorate my father, Sir John Graves Simcoe, a cairn has been erected on the site where he is supposed to have camped on one of his journeys along my route. You will find the monument on the left hand side of the road going west from Dundas. It is made of stone with a bronze plaque afixed [sic] to the front giving the details of my founding
To-day I while away my time by giving a number of tourists a restful and scenic drive. From the man in a hurry I receive many a chuckle by presenting my many lovely but irresistable [sic] curves.
Hmmm. "rough corduroy" - something the traffic engineers might want to consider for today's road...L.S.
3(b) Dundas West School
Grading has begun and it is anticipated that the school will be open in September 2007.
Councillor Samson reported that there are three things he has been working on: movement of the traffic guard from Creighton and Kemp to the stoplight at Bridlewood; the erection of two flashing signs to indicate the school area and reduced speed (One at Huntingwood and the other at Moss Blvd.); and a traffic round-a-bout at Davidson Blvd or Pirie. The most recent information received with regard to the round-a-bout was that it is going into the 2007 budget, however they must do an Environmental Assessment before they can finalize it. The purpose of constructing a round-about will be to slow traffic flows while maintaining movement on Governor’s Road.
Some good things there, but I guess the question is: is it enough? While the traffic circle is a physically engineered traffic calming device that forces cars to slow (while maintaining flow), flashing lights rely on enforcement, which is not nearly as effective as physically changing the roadway.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
(Sep 29, 2006)
Pedestrian safety on Governor's Road, where a 15-year-old Highland student was hit by a car last week, is a community issue and not a school issue, Highland principal Kathy Starodub said this week.
She said the community must work together to create effective traffic controls and educate pedestrians.
"It's a problem. If you drive around teenagers, you know their awareness is only of themselves," Ms. Starodub said. "It's not just Highland."
Police said last week an investigation found pedestrian error was to blame for the car-pedestrian collision.
The 15-year-old stepped onto Governor's Road, at Huntingwood Drive, without checking for traffic first.
An elderly driver had no time to react. Police said he would not be charged. The boy was taken to hospital with head injuries. His only contact with the car was the windshield striking his head, according to police.
Both police and the school would not release the boy's name.
Ms. Starodub said Tuesday he had been released from hospital and was improving at home.
As of last week, police reported he was speaking a bit and could squeeze his hand when asked.
"Students from the food and nutrition class he's in are making meals for the family," Ms. Starodub said. "His siblings are back at school.
"Our interests and energies are focussed on the boy, and not traffic patterns."
But she said the issue of pedestrian safety did come up at a Highland parent council meeting one day after the accident. She said parents have some concerns, particularly with the expected increase in traffic brought by a new elementary school planned to open down the road from Highland in September 2007.
"They'll take those concerns to the city," Ms. Starodub said.
And the school continues talking to students about traffic safety, obeying basic rules and not crossing in the middle of a block. Ms. Starodub said pedestrian awareness and education is an ongoing effort at the school.
But Highland's principal said the community, and the city, can assist.
She pointed to a city bus stop across the street from Highland that is at the middle of the block.
Despite the school's efforts, Ms. Starodub said, students continue to walk across busy Governor's Road from the bus stop, rather than walking to the corner and crossing at the traffic light.
"The easy answer is move the bus stop to the corner," she said.
Dundas city councillor Art Samson has asked staff to look into the possibility of a roundabout on Governor's Road, a flashing light school zone around the three schools, and a review of crossing guards in the area.
But the safety enhancements will be delayed at least until next year. City council only meets once more before the municipal election, and none of the proposed projects has been budgeted for.
Ed Switenky, manager of traffic engineering and operations, couldn't comment on any short-term improvements the city might be able to make to Governor's Road - in light of last week's accident.
"We haven't reviewed the accident report from the police," Mr. Switenky said.
When that police report is received, he said staff will review it and consider improvements. Mr. Switenky said the same thing is done with all collision reports.
Constable Phil Cranmer investigated the collision that sent the 15-year-old Highland student to hospital.
He said increasing development around Governor's Road and a 650-student school will create a "terrible mess" on Governor's Road.
"Something has to be done," he said.
According to the City of Hamilton's planning and development department, there are 237 housing units currently proposed for construction just north or south of Governor's Road.
Const. Cranmer said Hamilton Police will be directly involved in pedestrian safety on Governor's Road.
"We'll be writing reports, and scraping bodies off the road," he said.