A safe crossing at the Rail Trail is still a long-term goal but that will take a long time to achieve, since Canadian Pacific Railway needs to be part of the process and that tends to take a long time.
By Ryan McGreal
Published March 30, 2015
Last week, the City posted a staff report in response to the 2014 Ward 2 Participatory Budget vote for a safe pedestrian crossing on Wentworth Street South at the Rail Trail, just north of the curve where Wentworth turns into Charlton Avenue East.
Looking north on Wentworth from the Rail Trail to the train tracks and Cumberland
Instead of a controlled crosswalk at the Rail Trail, the report proposed an unsignalized pedestrian crossover at Cumberland - almost 100 metres north, down a steep grade and across a set of train tracks.
The report noted that it would be "unsafe to install a Pedestrian Crossing with signals at the Escarpment Trail location as the sightlines are below the required standard and the downward grade of the roadway and horizontal curve make it impossible for motorists to observe and stop safely for the pedestrians at this location."
Wentworth Street South bending into Charlton Avenue East, with the Rail Trail on the left side
Also last week, Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr and staff held a meeting with Stinson Neighbourhood residents to present the plan and solicit community feedback. The meeting was promoted with flyers to nearby residents and 40-50 people attended.
At the meeting, Farr clarified that a safe crossing at the Rail Trail is still a long-term goal but that will take a long time to achieve, since Canadian Pacific Railway needs to be part of the process and that tends to take a long time.
In an email to RTH, Farr wrote, "At our Stinson NA the other night we made it clear that the goal remains a safe crossing at the rail trail (not further up or down). Our Superintendent also shared that the conversation must include CP (as per a mandate) and that CP projects take time. The signals at the trail must be coordinated with the train crossings."
The crossing at Cumberland is intended to be an interim measure as part of a suite of traffic calming changes with which the City can proceed right away.
Those changes also include narrowing the lanes on Charlton with paint and hatching to provide a wider buffer from people walking on the sidewalk and replacing the guard rail that protects the south side of Charlton and east side of Wentworth, including the Wentworth Stairs.
Farr wrote, "The [Stinson Neighbourhood Association] gave me some marching orders: speed up talks with CP for the ped light at the trail. Reach out to the Province on allowing speed humps on minor arterial for this area and knock on some neighbours doors to see if I can get buy in on rumble strips."
He emphasized that the proposed changes, while not fulfilling what the community requested through the Participatory Budget process, are an important preliminary step. "I have already begun to address these asks. In the meantime, sooner, rather than latter, we agreed to get at what we can. In addition, we had some very good ideas from residents to further enhanced pedestrian safety. For example, bollards to the north of the tracks that more truly disginguish two lanes becoming one and prevent racing southbound cars attempting to get in front the queue."
It is encouraging to learn that the staff plan released last week is not the final word on the strategy to make Charlton and Wentworth safer and more inclusive for all road users.
Rail Trail crossing currently has a sign directing people to "Wait For Gap" before crossing Wentworth
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