Friday, August 23, 2013

Getting the Run Around?

Roundabout scrapped for traffic lights

By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News

Plans for a roundabout at the intersection of Governor’s Road and Davidson Boulevard have been scrapped in favour of less expensive traffic lights, with no pedestrian crossing of Governor’s Road.

Gary Moore, the City of Hamilton’s director of engineering services, confirmed last week traffic lights will be installed later this year, instead of the roundabout originally approved four years ago, for financial reasons.

“We figured out a roundabout would cost us about $1.4-million and we could control the intersection for $170,000,” Moore said.

He also confirmed there will not be a pedestrian crossing across Governor’s Road at the intersection – only a pedestrian crossing of Davidson.

“There are no pedestrian amenities on the south side of Governor’s, nothing to cross to,” Moore said. “Therefore (there is) no provision of crosswalk or signals at this time. Should there be a sidewalk installed in the future this is an easy retrofit.”

A public tender on the road project – which also includes road resurfacing in Dundas’ Turnbull neighbourhood – closes to bids on August 29.

According to the tender, the “Governor’s Road – Road Widening” project includes 1,800 square metres of road widening construction; 450 square metres of asphalt milling; 820 tonnes of asphalt paving; traffic signal installations; and street lighting installations.
Senior project manager Chris McCafferty explained the road widening is necessary to accommodate a left hand turn lane on Governor’s Road, along with the approach and departure tapers of that turning lane.

“The widening is all to the north side and fully in the road allowance,” McCafferty stated in an email.

He said the road changes will start 160-metres east of Davidson Boulevard and continue along Governor’s Road until Pirie Drive – about 275-metres west of Davidson.

“I believe costs were the greatest factor in choosing a signal rather than a roundabout,” McCafferty said.

The idea of a roundabout at Governor’s Road and Davidson Boulevard was first raised when former Dundas city councillor Art Samson asked city staff to investigate the traffic control measure.

Concern over pedestrian safety and traffic control in the area was sparked by plans to build Sir William Osler Elementary School at Governor’s and Bridlewood Drive. Osler became the third school – joining Highland Secondary School and St. Bernadette Elementary School – within a 500-metre stretch.

After a consultant’s report recommended pursuing the roundabout, the project was added to the ongoing Downtown Dundas Transportation Mater Plan process in 2008 and reviewed again.

The roundabout was removed from the DDTMP the following year, and a detailed report recommending that traffic control measure at Governor’s and Davidson was approved by city council on June 24, 2009.

A staff report following a voluntary environmental assessment of the project stated a roundabout at Governor’s and Davidson would mean “improved aesthetics and improved intersection safety through lower traffic speeds, fewer conflict points and reduced collision angles.”

The report noted the preferred option’s “initial construction costs are higher” and estimated additional funding of about $1.5-million would be necessary to build it.

In reviewing the alternative of a signalized intersection, the report concluded that option also “improved aesthetics and improved intersection safety with addition of left-turn lanes” but also would result in “increased delays and increased Green House Gas emissions due to greater number of stops” and had the “highest operation and maintenance costs” of the alternatives.

Moore suggested the decision to use a signalized traffic control does not eliminate the possibility of a future roundabout project at Governor’s and Davidson, particularly if further review indicates it’s a better option – but he said that project needs a more significant budget.

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