By Len Gillis
Friday, August 26, 2016 4:52:47 EDT PM
Pedestrians crossing at various intersections along Algonquin Boulevard and other points along the Connecting Link will soon find they have about ten more seconds of time to cross the road. The city is adding time to the crossing signals as the result of lobbying by the Timmins Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC). Changes to the traffic light will be made next week by crews from Porcupine Electric.
As promised, Timmins city hall is changing the timing of traffic signals along the Highway 101 Connecting Link in Timmins.
The city confirmed Friday that work will begin next week to increase the complete timing cycle that will give pedestrians at least ten seconds longer at crossings along Algonquin Boulevard and other key points from Porcupine all the way through to the west end of Riverside Drive.
This follows a presentation to council earlier this year by Dan McKay of the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC), asking the city to consider the concerns of pedestrians, especially those who have mobility challenges.
“I am elated, and it is long overdue for safer mobility for all pedestrians,” McKay told The Daily Press on Friday. “This is for everyone. It’s not just about me. It’s for everyone.”
McKay, who is visually impaired and is also an avid walker, told city council in June that many pedestrians find it difficult to cross four lanes of Algonquin because there is often not enough time.
McKay said he had been told by the city that the crossing time at most Algonquin intersections was the minimum standard of 24 seconds, as set by the MTO (Ministry of Transportation Ontario). He said many people in Timmins believed that was just not enough time to cross safely.
He was able to recite the exact times for traffic signals on Algonquin from Brunette Road through to the Theriault/Cameron intersection. He said in most cases the full signal cycle was only 90-seconds long. In most instances, he said, the lights favour traffic on Algonquin with 66 seconds dedicated to the east-west traffic flow and only 24 seconds dedicated to motorists and pedestrians crossing in a north-south direction.
It was at the meeting in June that council passed a motion directing that 10 seconds be added to the north-south crossings on Algonquin Boulevard, along with adding 10 seconds to the east-west signals as well. That was confirmed this week with a memo at city hall.
“The City of Timmins has engaged Porcupine Electric in completing the work, which will result in an increase in the total cycle time at all intersections from 90 seconds to 110 seconds,” said city engineering director Luc Duval in the e-mail to city council on Monday.
Duval said the actual work to adjust the signals is to be carried out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The scope of the work will also include changes to the downtown traffic signals on Pine Street and Cedar Street, which will be required to be synchronized with the signal changes on Algonquin.
“While these changes are being performed, there will be an impact to the synchronization of signals between the intersection at Brunette Road, up to the intersection at Theriault Boulevard returning to normal once all intersections have been modified,” said a news release from city hall Friday morning.
McKay, who said MAAC had been lobbying for the change since 2007, added that he was more than pleased to see the hard work and lobbying at city hall had paid off.
“It’s an enormous victory that we identified as far back as ’07,” said McKay. “We brought it to the administration. We didn’t let it go. We kept at it.”