| Nov 30, 2006


Feature Article - November 23, 2006

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Feature Article - November 23, 2006

Safer crossing inNorthbrook

Crossing the street in Northbrook will soon be safer, thanks to a new traffic signal and APS (accessible pedestrian signal) on Highway #41. What started as a request to Addington Highlands Council and MPP Leona Dombrowsky back in 2001 from a group of seniors wanting a crosswalk has evolved into a high-tech traffic signal installation.

Heart_and_soul

At that time, seniors felt they needed a safer way to cross the highway from Pine Grove Apartments to the Lions Hall. When council and MPP Dombrowsky approached the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) for assistance, the MTO recommended a traffic study be done to further investigate pedestrian and traffic flow on the provincial highway within the village of Northbrook . The intensive study in August 2001 recorded the movements of 117,400 vehicles over 7 days at 6 stations on Highway #41 in the village. In addition, pedestrian movements were also recorded over 2 days at 4 separate zones from Glastonbury Road to the Lions Hall. Collision records from 1988-2000 were also reviewed. The MTO explained to council early on that a pedestrian crosswalk on a provincial highway would not be possible.

The results of the traffic study showed the number of pedestrian crossings between the Bank of Montreal-IGA warranted a traffic signal, as this was the most heavily crossed section of the highway. It also presented the highest risk of pedestrian-vehicle collision due to the unstructured flow of vehicle traffic.

A public meeting held in August 2003 resulted in further discussions with stakeholders and eventual design of the intersection complete with traffic signal. As a move by the province to increase the accessibility for persons with disabilities, council requested that MTO install an APS signal in Northbrook at the same time as the traffic signal to assist the visually impaired residents and visitors.

The new APS will have a button for visually impaired pedestrians to push and a location sound to help find the button. Once the button is pushed, the traffic signal is activated. When traffic is stopped and it is safe to cross, a “bird chirping” sound will be heard by the pedestrian. The “bird chirping” will not be heard unless activated by the push button.

Residents will have noticed the great deal of work that has gone into the installation of the new signals. Work commenced just after Labour Day and continued into early November. New curbing, asphalt and street lighting were all part of the project. The MTO also provided additional modifications to storm drains at select locations to improve drainage in front of the IGA during snow melt.

This state-of-the-art signal is not common on provincial highways. Usually municipalities install the signals on municipally-owned streets within urban centres, paid for by the municipality. This provincially-paid installation in Northbrook is unique and was only possible with the co-operation of property owners, council, the MTO, the CNIB and the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. AH Council would like to thank all of these stakeholders as well as MPP Dombrowsky for making the APS and traffic signal a reality.

AH Township is providing APS training for any visually impaired person on November 28. The training will be provided by the CNIB Kingston Branch and will be one-on-one. If you know of visually impaired persons who would benefit from proper free training, please call 613-336-3211 to set up an appointment on November 28 at the new traffic signal. Training should take under 30 minutes per person.

– submitted by Ken Hook

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