The Transport Ministry is working with the City 'to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at several interchanges along Highway 403.'
By RTH Staff
Published December 16, 2014
this article has been updated
On November 18, the Hamilton Spectator published a letter to the editor by April Severin that raised concerns about dangerous automobile traffic through the highway ramps from Main and King Streets onto Highway 403.
It is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists to cross at these spots because the drivers move speedily and the stream of traffic is steady during peak times such as rush hour. Why is the change in speed limit sign placed just after, not before, the marked pedestrian/cyclist crossing area on King Street West for the highway on-ramp near the cathedral? Why can't there be posted speed limit signs on the off-ramps as drivers near the crossing since they have to slow down to merge with traffic on Main Street West?
Severin also sent her letter to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), and has now received a response from Lance Dutchak, Traffic Supervisor, Hamilton and Niagara for the MTO. Following is the text of Dutchak's response:
Dear Ms. Severin,
Thank you for your email of November 18th, 2014 regarding pedestrian safety and signage at on and off ramps to Highway 403 in The City of Hamilton. City staff forwarded your email to the ministry and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
Ministry staff visited the site and located a ramp advisory speed sign on the on-ramp to Highway 403 eastbound, which is visible from King Street West. This sign, with its black text on a yellow background, provides the recommended speed for vehicles to safely negotiate the curve in the ramp. The advisory speed sign is not a regulatory speed limit and is not enforceable.
All freeway on and off ramps are considered to be part of the freeway and have the same regulatory speed limit as the freeway. Advisory speed signs are provided to indicate what speed at which a driver can safely negotiate the ramp curves. Municipal posted speed limit signs apply on municipal roads, and are not applicable to freeway on and off ramps.
The Ministry is currently working with the City of Hamilton to develop strategies to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at several interchanges along Highway 403.
Thank you once again for your interest in making Ontario roads safer for all users.
Thanks to April Severin for raising the issue, contacting the MTO and sharing their response.
Update: April Severin also received a response from David Ferguson, Superintendent of Traffic Engineering with the City of Hamilton:
Good Morning Folks,
We are currently in negotiations with the MTO in finalizing designs for several locations to create pedestrian crossing at these types of locations throughout the city.
We are also expecting the approval of changes to the HTA in 2015 that would see changes that provide a right of way to pedestrians over vehicles.
We are currently working with PWs communications staff on how we can educate all road users of these new legal changes and will be part of our Traffic Safety work program in 2015.
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