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Changes planned to make Island Road safer

SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog received the findings of a recent safety review study of Island Road at a meeting on Monday, February 3rd.

Amanda Spencer and Steve Kemp, from the Region of Durham, presented their findings to Scugog council.

In late January of 2019, the Township made a request to the Region of Durham to reduce speed limits on portions of Island Road, and to come up with a road safety plan for that road. About two months later, the works department at the Region hired Associated Engineering Ltd. to conduct a road safety review of Island Road from Highway 7A to the Mississaugas Trail.

“The project began first by conducting an in office review to collect and analyze traffic data,” Ms. Spencer explained to councillors.

2019 data found between 8,405 and 10,810 vehicles on Island Road per day. Island Road sees between 100 and 500 vehicles per hour travelling on it on peak weekday commuter times, and anywhere from 90 to 650 vehicles per hour during peak Saturday times.

Ms. Spencer put these numbers in context.

“Simcoe St., north of Port Perry, experiences about 13,000 vehicles per day, so it’s a little bit higher,” she said. “Regional Road 57, south of Blackstock, experiences 5,200 vehicles per day.”

They also reviewed five years of collision data during this study, which found more mid block collisions than intersection related collisions.

After they compiled the information, they conducted a field investigation.

“Some general findings from the review noted that Island Rd. has several horizontal curves, vertical crests, and skewed intersections that somewhat limit sightlines,” Ms. Spencer said. “General issues were noted with signs, chevrons and passing zones.”

A number of recommendations were presented, split into immediate recommendations to be dealt with this year, short term recommendations to deal with in the next five years, and long term recommendations for the next 10 years.

Among the immediate recommendations were, reduce the posted speed limit to 70 kilometres per hour on stretches of Island Road from Highway 7A to north of Portview Road/Head Road and from Chandler Drive to the Great Blue Heron casino, review signage and add a painted line stop bar at the casino, reduce the radius on all corners of Seven Mile Island Road/Chandler Drive, install a yellow centre line on Chandler Drive, and convert a section from Demara Road to Chandler Drive to a no passing zone.

Short term recommendations included installing a 1.5 metre paved shoulder with safety edge on sections of the roadway, installing radar speed signs in the 70 kilometres per hour areas, and adding a safety feature known as ‘rumble strips’, which causes vehicles to vibrate when they veer out of their lane, to the edge line and centerline.

Long term recommendations included installing southbound left turn and northbound right turn lanes at Demara Road and adding a southbound left turn lane at Seven Mile Island Road/Chandler Drive.

Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross questioned why the plan is only to reduce portions of the road to 70 kilometre per hour, rather than a lower limit.

“The 70 was recommended based on the accesses, the frequency of rear-end collisions in that section. To go lower to a 60 at this time is not recommended,” Ms. Spencer responded. “However, we will monitor the speeds.”

Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido questioned if any of the immediate recommendations are pending Regional council approval.

“The line marking, the signage improvements, this can happen without council approval. Our traffic engineering division can go out and make those changes,” Ms. Spencer said. “The speed reductions will need to go through council. We have to update our traffic bylaw to show those changes”. She added they could make the traffic bylaw changes in April.

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