by Chris Pickup

The county has issued a request for proposal on the Argyle and Haddington intersection of Caledonia.

Prompted by residents’ concerns around vehicle collisions and pedestrian safety, Council voted in December 2015 to commission a study to look at options to improve the intersection. That study came before council in committee May 30, 2017.

Of five options put forward by Stephen Keen, Associate Partner, Director Transportation Planning CIMA, a mini roundabout appeared to be the most favourable, although the most expensive at a cost of $923,000. It will also require 0.2 acre land acquisition to accommodate it. However it is rated excellent in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety.

Adding to the complexity of the intersection are separate driveways to the Riviera retirement residence, a commercial plaza and an access road between the two, all on the west side of Argyle directly across from Haddington. Directly northeast of Haddington on Argyle is the wide entrance to the MacDonald’s plaza.

Coun. Dalimonte noted at the time that pedestrian flow is a big concern. Although there have been no pedestrian collisions, mainly car to car, there is a lot of pedestrian traffic that needs to be dealt with.

“Turning west on Haddington is a disaster waiting to happen,” coun. Grice agreed. “People don’t want to be anywhere near that intersection and go to other roads they shouldn’t be on to avoid it. There are so many driveways.

“I’ve had many requests to improve the intersection, especially the Riviera, plaza and access to the old pumping station”

Coun. Bartlett referred to the old traffic circle at Stoney Creek which was removed because the accident count was significantly bigger after it was built. “Will we see this now?” he asked Keen.

“What they built then is different from now,” Keen said. The new circles are smaller and “based on empirical evidence, they are much safer.”

“It’s documented they reduce collisions by 80% and reduce injuries by 75%,” Grice agreed. “And there’s a 50% reduction in speeding. It’s a great way to move forward.”

Keen noted better lighting is needed. And he agreed if the roundabout is built, some sort of public education should be held on how to use it.

Mayor Hewitt asked about the impact on businesses and was told there would be public meetings.

The successful bidder will be required to consult with CIMA during the process. The roundabout is expected to take about two years to construct.