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May. 27, 2022 | Friday
Local News
Fix It: Town promises to assess troublesome intersection
This stop line, on a private laneway, really lets you know you're supposed to stop. (Kevin MacLean/Niagara Now)

A resident’s concern about westbound drivers ignoring a stop sign on Niagara Boulevard will be reviewed by the Town of NOTL.

“Town staff will be reviewing the site, make improvements where possible, and if necessary, bring forward any recommendations to council,” spokesperson Victoria Steele said in response to a June 27 Fix It column in which Amelie Robinson said she is worried someone might get hurt.

With the popular Ryerson Park right there, a distracting lake view, large trees and lots of happy wanderers, that seems a valid concern.

The Fix It column suggested the simple addition of a painted “stop” line on the asphalt, as is common at most busy intersections, might help get drivers’ attention.

A brief, random survey by The Lake Report last month showed the vast majority of drivers (both locals and tourists) roll through the intersection without stopping. Robinson is concerned that walkers crossing to or from Vincent Avenue are endangered as a result. She said she has almost been hit a few times.

In a statement to The Lake Report, Marci Weston, an engineering technologist specializing in traffic and transit, said the town reviewed  the intersection of Vincent and Niagara Boulevard in 2016 and noted “there was poor compliance with the stop sign facing westbound Niagara Boulevard traffic.”

No stop sign was ever installed on the third leg of the intersection “because eastbound vehicles exiting the hairpin curve from Shakespeare Avenue do not have time to see and react to a stop control,” she noted.

In 2016, council approved removing the stop sign for westbound Niagara Boulevard traffic (the one now largely ignored by drivers) on the premise that with no reciprocal sign facing eastbound traffic, a single sign afforded a false sense of security to pedestrians crossing from Vincent Street.”

However, removal of the westbound stop sign was deferred after residents objected.

Weston noted North American statistics show that on average only 23 per cent of drivers make a full stop at an intersection, while 73 per cent make “rolling stops” stops,” and three per cent don’t stop at all.

Many of the drivers using the intersection are visitors or one-time road users, she said, so it is unlikely that greater enforcement would improve stop sign compliance.

She might be right that ticketing won’t be helpful and is a questionable use of police time, since they would be enforcing it.

Which brings us back to the “can of paint” alternative. With a stop sign that is visible but somewhat obscured by trees and the distracting lake view, would the visual “barrier” of a wide white line painted on the road help? Or at least mollify resident concerns?. 

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