Friday, August 22, 2008

Timmins approves $15,000 for traffic study

City council has approved putting out a $15,000 RFP (request for proposal) to have a formal traffic study done for the area of the Wilson Avenue and Cameron Street intersection in Timmins.
Council’s action follows a report this week from city engineer Luc Duval, who said a preliminary informal study of the intersection shows there is indeed a traffic congestion problem.
His report comes after a suggestion made earlier this summer by city councillor Mike Doody who said the Cameron-Wilson intersection presented a serious problem.
Duval says more and more motorists are using Wilson Avenue because it has no traffic lights or stop signs.
Westbound motorists then use Cameron Street to move over to Algonquin Boulevard if they want to go farther west along Algonquin, or north along Theriault Boulevard.
Duval told council that the study could explore several options for the intersection including a four-way stop, which he admitted was a cheap and easy solution.
The downside to that, said his report, was that it would severely disrupt the traffic flow and volume of traffic moving west and north as peak times. Duval also indicated that a four-way stop would create excessively long line-ups on Wilson, “depending on driver reaction times.”
The study will also consider making Cameron Street a one-way street northbound, which would also be low-cost and have the advantage of moving a larger volume of cars off Wilson and onto Algonquin. The downside to that would be a severe restriction for Algonquin traffic wanting to move south or east along Wilson.
Duval told council he had money within his budget for consultants’ work that had not yet been tapped into and he would be able to absorb the cost of the study.
Councillor Bill Gvozdanovic was against the idea of hiring a consultant.
“I really don’t agree with paying somebody $15,000 to come here and all they’re gonna do is go stand down there….” said Gvozdanovic, adding that traffic counts and experimenting with traffic light times is something that could be done by the city’s engineering staff.
Councillor Mike Doody spoke in favour of the study idea saying he had received several reactions from the coffee-shop crowd
“You have no idea how many ‘traffic consultants’ have talked to me since the last council meeting,” councillor Mike Doody joked, adding that the overall reaction has been positive that council is taking a serious look at the traffic situation.
Doody suggested the city might also look at the length of times of the various traffic lights and advanced-turning lights on Algonquin Boulevard.
Council voted in favour of spending the money to hire a consultant for $15,000. Gvozdanovic was alone in voting against the move.

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