Despite persistent concerns, no traffic signals for Blyth says Lund - Jan. 25, 2018
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
After even further review, the Huron County Public Works Department is sticking with its recommendation that the Blyth intersection of Blyth and London Roads does not need traffic signals.
Huron County Engineer Steven Lund spoke to Huron County Council at its Jan. 17 committee of the whole meeting, reiterating his department’s original stance from just under one year earlier.
The intersection did not warrant the installation of traffic signals based on a variety of factors.
Neither updated traffic counts, motor vehicle collision data nor speed warranted the installation of signals, Lund said, although vehicle counts through the intersection have increased since the opening of Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company just east of the intersection.
Lund said that recent traffic counts show increases of 5.8 per cent on London Road south of Blyth, 9.6 per cent on London Road north of Blyth, 12 per cent on Blyth Road west of Blyth and 72 per cent on Blyth Road east of Blyth.
He added that with traffic impact studies completed for both the Cowbell and Tim Hortons development just west of the intersection, neither study concluded the justification of traffic signals for the intersection.
In terms of traffic counts, Lund said that the intersection only meets between 50 and 60 per cent of the justification to install traffic signals. He did say, however, that staff will continue to monitor the intersection.
While motor vehicle collisions continue to incite conversation among Blyth residents concerning safety through the intersection, Lund said that the installation of traffic signals is tied to whether or not these collisions could have been avoided as a result of traffic signals.
“Motor vehicle collision data for the years 2015-2017 from the OPP that were reported at the intersection were recently received and reviewed by County Public Works. There were nine reported accidents from 2015 to 2017 at this intersection. Eight of the nine involved failing to yield at one of the stop signs and one driving too fast for conditions. None of these collisions involved fatalities and would be considered reducible by traffic signals, as they were no turning/angle movements,” Lund said in his report. “In 2013 and 2014, there were three non-reducible accidents due to speeding and inattentive driving. On this basis, the accident justification is not met. Similar to traffic counts, staff will continue to monitor accident data on an annual basis.”
Lund said that with the average speed through the intersection, according to a speed survey conducted in August, 2017, clocking in at 70 kilometres per hour, speed through the intersection continues to be an enforcement issue. He said that the OPP and Public Works Department will continue to work together to monitor and enforce the posted speed limits, in addition to the installation of a permanent radar speed sign to advise motorists of their speed in an effort to calm traffic in the area.
Lund suggested the installation of LED stop signs and LED stop sign ahead signs on Blyth Road, which would be a “relatively easy” improvement the department could make in the area. He said that lit stop signs like those he wants to install in Blyth have proven to reduce failure to yield incidents by 52 per cent and incomplete stops by 29 per cent.
“County Public Works sees this as a positive step towards minimizing failing to stop issues,” Lund said in his report.
Lund also acknowledged the new issues surrounding transport trucks parking along the road near Tim Hortons. He said there are already parking bylaws in place, but county staff are looking at prohibiting parking in the vicinity of the intersection and erecting signage to that effect.
Lund told councillors that there is a $50,000 allowance in this year’s budget for a traffic study that would investigate improvements for traffic signals or a roundabout in Blyth, or it could be used to provide capital budget estimates in the event that the work is undertaken in the future. He did say that the installation of traffic signals would cost $300,000 and the creation of a roundabout would cost even more.
Council accepted Lund’s report and took no further action.