Stop signs, sidewalks at centre of debate
Some Beacon Hill residents are concerned about the City of Beaconsfield’s plan to remove a stop sign at the corner of Creswell and Berwick. Chronicle, Alex Leduc
Some residents of Beaconsfield’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood have taken issue with the proposed traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures proposed by the city.
The proposed changes, which The Chronicle reported on in June, include adding speed humps, raised intersections, and sidewalks, as well as removing stop signs. They are based on a survey conducted by the city and distributed to residents in the spring.
Bryan Barbieri, a Creswell Street resident of 28 years, has expressed strong opposition to the sidewalk proposed for Creswell between St. Charles Boulevard and Epping Road. "The proposal to install sidewalks is a permanent and irreversible action and an urban-jungle concept that violates the essential character of our tranquil, green community," said Barbieri.
Beaconsfield Mayor Bob Benedetti discussed the survey results with residents at a meeting on June 3. Last week, he told The Chronicle the sidewalks were a necessary safety measure for the pedestrians walking to and from the bus stop on St. Charles Boulevard. "It is proposed because there is a lot of pedestrian traffic and 2,000 cars per day on Creswell. There is the potential for enough conflicts," he said. "There have been no sidewalks here for 45 years," said Creswell Street resident J.C. Grant, who has lived on the street since 1968. "There have been no pedestrian fatalities."
The mayor acknowledged there had been no incidents between cars and pedestrians reported.
According to Barbieri, one of the residents circulated an anti-sidewalk petition at the June 3 meeting. "We're all concerned about safety, but there are other ways to solve this issue," he said. "The relative absence of sidewalks…is part of the attractiveness of the community."
Residents are also concerned about the proposed removal of stop signs on Creswell at Berwick and on Beacon Hill at Andover. The survey states residents run through the signs at high speeds, especially on Creswell, where drivers try to catch the light on St. Charles Boulevard. It explains the stop signs do not obey the Highway Code anyway, and should be replaced by raised intersections. "The average speed of cars going through the stop sign was 27 km/h. It's dangerous," said Benedetti. "People driving on Berwick will assume people (going west on Creswell) will stop, and it could cause an accident." "Drivers are not respecting the signs, so let's remove them?" questioned Barbieri. "That's not a reason for taking away stop signs…Why not an awareness campaign?" "If they don't enforce the law, then no one is going to pay attention," said Grant.
Enforcing the law was suggested by residents previously, which led to a recent police blitz of drivers running through the stop sign on Creswell at Berwick. A local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, observed the blitz and noted drivers generally stopped at the intersection thereafter.
Benedetti was not as confident about simply increasing police vigilance. "We can't always count on the police getting there. Enforcement only works for a while," he said.
The mayor explained nothing is set in stone and the residents are welcome to give their feedback. "There's room on the survey for comments and we will review the survey in September," he said.
Although there is disagreement between the administration and residents, the debate has remained respectful and civil. "I respect Mr. Benedetti for responding quickly to each of the communications I have directed his way, despite the fact that we do not see eye-to-eye on the matter," said Barbieri.