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Niagara Falls
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Roundabout rears its head in regional update to NOTL council
Frank Tassone, director of transportation for Niagara Region and NOTL Regional Coun. Andrea Kaiser address councillors at Tuesday's committee-of-the-whole meeting. Richard Hutton
A conceptual design of the roundabout proposed in St. Davids. Richard Hutton
Coun. Adriana Vizzari. Richard Hutton
A speed camera located on York Road near St. Davids Public School went live on April 15. Richard Hutton

When the region’s director of transportation stood in front of council last Tuesday, it was inevitable that a controversial roundabout planned for St. Davids would come up.

“This project is in detailed design right now,” Frank Tassone told councillors in a presentation on upcoming capital projects in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

He appeared at the April 9 committee-of-the-whole meeting to share the projects Niagara Region has planned for the town over the next five years.

He said that the region — as it did with the recent road reconstruction in Virgil — will be turning to businesses and the public, including members of the St. Davids Ratepayers Association, for input on just how the roundabout will look.

“(In Virgil) the town came forward with a million dollars of funding to be able to facilitate upgrades and landscaping,” Tassone said. “Upgraded crosswalks and things that are outside of the region’s realm.”

The Virgil road reconstruction, however, did spark concerns from some businesses, which complained about how long that project took.

But now that it’s done, Tassone said, “I think the results of what you’re seeing there is that the community is generally very happy with the way things turned out.” 

In St. Davids, the roundabout planned for the intersection of York and Four Mile Creek roads has raised the ire of local businesses, residents living in the area and members of council.

The region will be going ahead with the project, Tassone said, and added that a similar approach is being taken as with the Virgil reconstruction, meaning a steering committee made up of stakeholders will become involved once the roundabout has been constructed.

“When we looked at putting out the design assignment for the roundabout, we also implemented and included those types of meetings for that area,” Tassone said.

“Once all of the hard infrastructure is in place and designed, we will be convening that steering committee with the local community … to let everyone have their say and have some type of role in designing what the landscape looks like.”

Coun. Adriana Vizzari wanted Tassone to pin down a time when work would start on the roundabout.

“Do you have a more concise timeline than five years or are we just waiting for five years?” she asked.

In response, Tassone said the region is 15 per cent complete on the design.

“As soon as we can complete the design we’ll be moving into relocating utilities and looking at purchasing any necessary property which I anticipate will likely happen in 2025,” he said. “Construction funds, I believe, are set aside in 2027. However, it’s a little premature to know right now whether we’ll make that timeline or not.”

Vizzari also wondered if the region had considered any other alternatives.

In response, Tassone said an environment assessment was completed, which concluded a roundabout will be built there.

The roundabout is just one of a number of capital projects the region has scheduled for Niagara-on-the-Lake over the next five years:

  • Reconstruction of Niagara Stone from Line 1 to East-West Line. Funds are set aside in the 2025 budget to start the work but the project will “spill over” into 2026, Tassone said;
  • A revamp of Airport Road from Niagara Stone to York Road;
  • Two projects in the detailed design process are works scheduled for intersection improvements at Niagara Stone and Line 4 as well as Niagara Stone and Airport Road;
  • Townline Road from Stanley Avenue to Four Mile Creek Road. The project, which will include a roundabout at Stanley and Niagara Stone, has reached the detailed design phase;
  • York from the diverging diamond intersection at Glendale Avenue to Niagara Stone (in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation) as a part of the Garden City Skyway twinning project. The ministry recently issued a request for proposals from five first qualified for the project;
  • Four Mile Creek Road to Queenston Street will be “packaged together with the roundabout,” Tassone said;
  • Lakeshore Road from Townline Road for Four Mile Creek Road;
  • Glendale from the Welland Canal to Homer Road, currently in the detailed design process;
  • Line 4 bridge work is planned for 2025 and into 2026, and;
  • Lakeshore Road culvert work in 2026.

In terms of road safety, the region will continue with its road safety initiative, Vision Zero — in addition to speed and red light cameras, it includes such initiatives as community safety zones, safety reviews, school zones, pedestrian crossovers, bollard programs and education.

“Our Vision Zero program is much more robust than automated enforcement,” Tassone said.

Speed enforcement efforts with speed cameras “has shown some great results,” he added.

“We went from having approximately 181 infractions per hour when we launched the program to, four months later, down to 60 infractions per hour.”

In NOTL, the speed camera has moved from its location on Niagara Stone Road near Crossroads Public School to York Road, near St. Davids Public School.

hutton@niagaranow.com

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