I am in the cavernous Council Chamber at York Region (11 June 2015) expecting a debate on super fast broadband. Instead, I find two deputations of Italian Canadians complaining vociferously about traffic infiltration in their neighbourhood in Vaughan. They are arguing about the solution and the rest of us look on, bemused. We are intruding on a family quarrel.
I learn about the neighbourhood’s Italian demographics. Every second person has a surname ending with a vowel (not unlike York Regional Council itself).
Vaughan Mayor, Maurizio Bevilacqua, jocularly tells one of the deputants, Anthony Francescucci, he shouldn’t anglicize his name just to help the Chair, the struggling Wayne Emmerson, get his tongue round it. He should stick with the authentic Italian pronunciation. This produces approving smiles from Francescucci's deputation.
Emmerson is now calling people to the lectern using their first names, finding it easier.
One group wants to ban peak hours rat-running by the clever device of placing turning restrictions at key entry and exit points. New traffic signs would order no left turns into the residential area. Another group from a different part of the same neighbourhood argues this “solution” would create another set of problems and would impact adversely on them.
I hear about the volume of traffic on some residential streets increasing exponentially over recent years. One vehicle whizzes by every 12 seconds. And they are travelling at the speed of light.
Emmerson, completely at ease in his role as the home spun philosopher, tells us people nowadays don’t get up early enough to take their kids to school and end up rushing.
Ahhh! So that's it.
After much argument and counter-argument a truce of sorts emerges. The Regional Transportation people say that stopping people from using some roads will have a displacement effect, transferring the problem elsewhere. Another study is needed!
They promise to look further at the issue of traffic infiltration into residential neighbourhoods and report back. Honours are even and this is enough to satisfy everyone.
I hope the findings will be as relevant to Newmarket as they are to the West Downs community in Vaughan.
We have huge and growing traffic infiltration problems of our own.