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Essa, County at odds over timing of traffic lights in Baxter

Posted August 9, 2018

Essa Township wants Brookfield Development to install traffic signals at the intersection of Denney Drive and Murphy Road (Cty Rd 21) in Baxter as a component of its 253-unit subdivision.

Simcoe County's engineering department however has informed the Township the volume of traffic doesn't justify the lights, and instead suggest a pedestrian signal be installed in the interim.

"Any potential road improvements to the intersection are also limited by the current right-of-way widths on County Road 21 and Denney Drive," according to the County report to council. "Typically when installing traffic signals, at a minimum, left turn lanes are also incorporated into the improvements to increase intersection operations. Currently the developer does not own any of the abutting lands at the intersection that would be required to properly improve the intersection. The developer is willing to pay the installation and construction costs of the proposed traffic signals and the Township of Essa is in support of the installation."

Essa Mayor Terry Dowdall, who is also Deputy Warden of the County, and Township CAO Greg Murphy, are scheduled to speak as delegations at the County meeting next Tuesday morning seeking approval for the traffic signals.

"Typically traffic signals should not be installed if the warrants are not justified, and the County has rarely approved unwarranted traffic signals. Unjustified traffic signals can lead to excessive vehicle delay, increased fuel consumption, increased noise, motorist frustration due to unreasonable delays, greater disobedience of the traffic signals, increased use of alternative routes in attempting to avoid these types of signals and a potential increase in certain types of collisions such as rear end collisions."

Essa council approved a resolution in May requesting the County approve the installation of traffic signals at the developer's expense "rather than County of Simcoe taxpayers having to fund this project at a later date."

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All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri