Friday, October 22, 2021
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Road Safety on Birchview Road Back at Douro-Dummer Council

BY TERRY MCQUITTY

Safety concerns were raised once again at the regularly scheduled Douro-Dummer council meeting on Tuesday evening. A delegation from the Birchcliff Property Owner’s Association (BPOA) appeared before council with a powerpoint presentation outlining the concerns of people on the 12 kilometer stretch of road.

Residents of Birchview have been concerned about safety for the past 20 years according to Jeff Chalmers, Birchview resident, and he said they will continue to lobby council until the improvements are made.

The BPOA were not the only ones who are  concerned about road safety. At the September 7 Douro-Dummer council meeting, Dr Betsy McGregor appeared before council with a presentation and an ask. McGregor outlined her concerns and asked council to consider six suggested solutions. The solutions are as follows:
1. Speed Limit dropped from 60 to 40
2. No Parking Signs
3. Bush Clearance More Regularly
4. Greatly increased OPP presence and ticketing
5. Speed Sign
6. Speed Bumps

Following McGregor’s presentation council asked staff to create a report addressing the concerns and checking the viability of the suggested solutions.

At the October 5 council meeting, Manager of Public Works, Jake Condon appeared before council with a report asking for $6,500 so that Birchview Road could be included in a road risk assessment that could be included in a roads needs study being preformed by DM Wills.

Council agreed to designate the funds to the study.

Fast forward to October 19 and safety concerns were once again the topic of conversation.

Bruce Johnson told council that the world is changing both in urban and rural areas. COVID has brought increased use of the road and residents have seen more through traffic and this includes transport trucks.

Johnson conceded that the township has started improvements on the road, but stated that there is still a long way to go. Some of the work that has already been done includes the installation of stop signs, grass mowing and patching shoulders.

Johnson told council that they have had a lot of conversations of concern with neighbours regarding the condition and the traffic on the road. Johnson said that they have spoken to the vast majority of home owners (both BPOA and non-BPOA residents) and the number one comment they received was “why has Douro-Dummer done so little?”

Mayor J Murray Jones told the delegation that he takes exception to the comment that we have done nothing.

CAO Elana Arthurs told council that Douro-Dummer has spent almost $1 million on Birchview Road over the past 15 years.

The delegation included numerous documents to support their claims including approximately 60 pictures, a door to door survey with between 120 and 130 names along with an on-line survey with up to 64 names.

Chalmers said these surveys represent over 60 per cent of residents on Birchview Road or roads feeding on to Birchview.

BPOA recommended a phased in approach for the improvements suggested.

In the short term they would like to see:
• Identify what can be completed in 2021
• Grass and tree trimming
• Speed reduction and speed surveillance
• Signing by hazard locations (blind corners & hills)
• Shoulder repairs
• Maintain Work plan for short, medium and long-term preventive maintenance

In the Medium term they would like to see what can be done in 2022:
• Shoulder improvements
• Repair damage to hard top
• Improve blind spot visibility

Long-Term, 2023 and beyond
• Take advantage of scheduled hard top resurfacing for more extensive shoulder improvements
• Ongoing enhanced maintenance of shoulders and sight lines

Deputy Mayor Karl Moher  replied to the delegation, when the township gets in to tree trimming could they please ask their people to stop emailing councillors. Last time they did this he received 30 emails a day.

Chalmers responded by saying when you brush people speed up.

Birchview is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2023.