Construction work on the VivaNext rapidway has shifted 5, 000 vehicles a day from Davis Drive on to roads in the Town’s residential neighbourhoods.
A report to the Town’s Committee of the Whole on Monday 4 November says this represents 18% of the 28,000 daily pre-construction volume on Davis Drive.
A Town-wide traffic mitigation study, due to take place next year, could be pushed back to 2015 or even 2016 if councillors accept a staff recommendation declaring it premature.
Arguing for delay, the staff say they can learn lessons from the successes and failures of traffic mitigation on Davis Drive (due for completion in 2014) which can then be used on the next VivaNext project. This second rapidway will run along Yonge Street from Mulock to Davis Drive and is due for completion in 2017.
The report lists local roads that are already under pressure from so-called traffic infiltration, saying they should be the focus of speed management programmes.
Fair enough, speed is an issue but so are traffic volumes.
In an astonishing oversight, no Town-wide traffic survey was carried out prior to construction work starting on Davis Drive. Staff say “the baseline level of existing infiltration is unknown” making it impossible for comparisons of traffic volumes in residential areas to be made, before and after.
The VivaNext projects have been on the cards for years and commonsense tells us traffic was likely to be displaced from congested corridors onto quiet residential streets.
Newmarket’s Traffic Management Policy sets a threshold of 20% for traffic infiltration onto suburban roads. Anything less than this is considered “normal” traffic.
There are lots of residents out there who believe a 20% increase in traffic on their local roads is anything but normal.
The Town has identified the streets “that are most likely to have long-distance and short-distance traffic infiltration”.
On the north side of Davis Drive these are: London Road; Main Street North; George Street; Penn Avenue; Bayview Parkway; Lundy’s Lane.
And on the south side of Davis Drive: Queen Street; Lorne Avenue; Millard (part); Srigley Street; Gorham Street; Eagle Street.
I suspect the Town has traffic counts for these roads that were taken before construction started on the Davis Drive rapidway.
If so, updated traffic counts for these very same streets should be taken and published at regular intervals from now until the Town-wide survey is put in hand.
There are plenty of other residential streets now used as rat runs where earlier traffic counts could also be updated and published.
People don’t need to be told traffic is getting heavier in their residential neighbourhoods but is within the “normal” range.
They want the facts and figures.
And they want measures put in place to keep local roads for local traffic.
The report on Traffic Infiltration in the Committee of the Whole agenda for 4 November 2013 can be found here. Scroll to agenda item 12.