Pedestrian crossing coming to Blyth - May 30, 2019
BY DENNY SCOTT
Blyth could have a downtown pedestrian crossing as early as October, however there are still a lot of questions Huron County staff have to answer before that happens.
During North Huron Council’s May 21 meeting, Mike Hausser, Manager of Public Works for Huron County, said that $140,000 had been approved in Huron County’s budget this year to implement a pedestrian crosswalk in Blyth similar to those found in Clinton.
Hausser explained that the county would be seeking feedback in the coming months after an engineering review of downtown traffic was completed last year.
The work was completed as part of a plan to address possible crossings in Huron Park, Londesborough, Blyth and Seaforth, and a draft report was presented to Huron County Council in March.
Hausser walked North Huron Council through the different kinds of crossings available. For Blyth, one of two were being considered: a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Queen and Dinsley Streets and, after discussing that plan with North Huron staff, a mid-block crossing near the former Blyth branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).
Regardless of the location, Hausser said that the crossing would include bump-outs, potentially reducing on-street traffic, as well as lighting and power.
He did say that the kind of intersections being proposed have not been met with universal understanding, saying that, in Clinton for example, drivers aren’t stopping for the crossings because the lights are too far out of their field of vision.
“They are legal crosswalks, but still we find drivers tend to drive through them,” he said. “The big reason is that we didn’t install bump-outs to put pedestrians closer to the traffic, and the drivers’ fields of view.”
He said that, with the addition of bump-outs, not only would the pedestrians be more noticeable to drivers, but the crossing lights would be closer to the road as well, meaning drivers would have an easier time seeing them.
The estimated cost is $140,000, Hausser said, though that could change with the new option of installing the mid-block crossing.
The next step, Hausser said, is to create preliminary layouts for the mid-block crossing, as preliminary designs for the Dinsley Street crossing were already drafted. After that, the county will host public information meetings.
North Huron Council will then receive revised recommendations regarding the layout, location and details of the crossing, at which point Huron County and North Huron public works will begin working together to call for tenders in August, with construction targeted for October.
“Realistically, that’s the best timeline we can find,” Hausser said. “There is some complication of concrete work and power and lighting to think of.”
Councillor Kevin Falconer said he had been contacted by ratepayers regarding the project, and asked to urge Huron County to use materials that match the village’s existing lighting infrastructure.
Hausser said that was good feedback that he would take into consideration.
Councillor Anita van Hittersum was concerned that putting bump-outs might adversely affect industrial and agricultural vehicles from being able to use the road. Hausser said that, if the farm vehicles can fit on the road now, the bump-outs shouldn’t be a problem as they are designed to come out the width of the parking lanes.
Council received the report for information.