By Craig Westcott \ May 12, 2023
All lines of discussion Tuesday on the subject of speeding in Bay Roberts converged at a three-way stop.
In fact, three-way and four-way stops were proposed as possibly the most promising solution to the problem by both councillor Dean Franey, who has spent some time pondering the issue, and most of the rest of council who fell in line behind his thinking that a pilot project involving a handful of intersections be tried.
Chief administrative officer Nigel Black kicked off the first of several discussions on the subject by raising a traffic issue at the intersection of Cross Road and Station Road which had come before the planning committee.
“The idea originally was to have a lit crosswalk installed there,” he said. “As part of that discussion and as part of the budget implications of that discussion, a suggestion was made that maybe we could make it a three-way stop intersection. So, we discussed that and our full committee felt that would be a better option than the lit crosswalk. We felt that not only would it serve as a crosswalk but would also serve as a traffic calming measure to slow some of the traffic down along that stretch of the road. It’s at the top of a hill there, so it could be dangerous. We thought it was an excellent alternative and basically our recommendation is council make a motion to make that intersection a three-way intersection and direct the two directors, of public works and protective services, to order the signage and get that installed prior to our line painting this year.”
Franey, who had earlier added the subject of three-way stops to the agenda for a full airing, was quick to support Black’s suggestion and put his hand up to make it a motion, which was seconded by councillor Silas Badcock.
Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour, who chairs the public works committee, said his group had looked at that intersection too and found no problems with the idea of making it a three-way stop. “But it lead to a later discussion on the need for maybe looking at this in other areas of the town,” he added. “We’re always getting concerns and complaints about speeding, and with a lot of these small streets and intersections now, most towns are implementing four-way stops and three-way-stops to calm down traffic.”
Mayor Walter Yetman held the discussion there in order to expedite the decision about this particular intersection, noting a broader discussion was coming when council got to Franey’s item. Put to a vote, council unanimously passed Black’s recommendation.
One hour later, after dealing with a myriad of speed bump requests, crosswalk requests, and requests to be reimbursed for fence damages caused by snow plows, sewerage issues, development applications, and a myriad of other matters, council finally pulled up to Franey’s agenda item.
“It’s something that I started working on last year in my head when I was home about coming up with a plan to combat (speeding) with some traffic calming,” Franey explained. “We get a lot of requests for speedbumps, and we can’t put them everywhere. But from my travels, I’ve seen a lot of residential areas that have three or four-way stops. Nearly every street in Bay Roberts besides the CB Highway, is a residential street.”
Franey said his idea at first was to conduct a pilot project on just a handful of streets. “At the time I was thinking Central Street and Green’s Road, Smith Street to Bears Cove, and probably Barnes Road… and the Neck Road in Coley’s Point… And this is just expanding on work that the committees have already done, so I commend the committees for that… But we get a lot of concerns about speeding and one of the best ways to combat speeding, hopefully, is to make the cars stop altogether. And they’re going to have to get used to it.”
Shearstown Road at the bottom of Higgins Road, and Pitt Road in Butlerville are other areas that might benefit from the stops, Franey allowed. “There are a lot of places throughout the whole town,” he said.
Mayor Yetman recalled what happened when council brought in a three-way stop on Country Road years ago. “It was not a popular decision and we got a lot of complaints against it, but I certainly believe that that made a difference,” he said.
Councillor Badcock reckoned everyone on council was sold on the idea. From all the calls about speeding he has taken, he added, three-way stops is the best way to combat it. “You can’t put speedbumps everywhere,” he said. “In my opinion, it’s the only way to do it.”
Franey agreed it’s the easiest solution, and would also require the least amount of maintenance.
Councillor Perry Bowering suggested some of the areas named by Franey might benefit from being converted to one-way streets.
Franey agreed that is true in some cases, as did Yetman.
“There’s Snow’s Lane, you’ve got Green’s Road, you’ve got Smith Street and Mosdells and all these little streets that connect Water Street to Central Street,” said the mayor. “Church Lane is another one. “They’re all old roads that are narrow and could possibly be one-way streets.”
Deputy Mayor Seymour, meanwhile, agreed with Badcock. “You can’t put speedbumps everywhere, it’s not practical.” He asked whether council should put forward a motion to conduct a pilot project involving half a dozen or so intersections.
“That’s my thought exactly,” said Yetman, “to go with a pilot project.”
CAO Black suggested the best way to handle it would be to refer the issue to the planning committee to come up with a list of possible intersections for a pilot project and then refer that to the public works committee to investigate which of those are practical in terms of signage, snow clearing and other considerations. “And then, whatever’s left from that for a pilot project, bring it back to council for a vote,” he said.
Franey made a motion to do just that, with Bowering seconding it and Yetman calling for the vote.
“Motion carried,” said the mayor surveying the unanimous show of hands. “Wonderful, great discussion.”