This week at Council, we approved the addition of an “All-way” stop at the intersection of Machell Ave and Irwin Ave. This intersection, for anyone that knows the area, is used by many drivers as a cut through to avoid the Yonge and Wellington intersection. However, with the addition of the stacked townhomes, this area has experienced continued, increased traffic in what is a residential area.
In the report before council, Staff did not recommend the installation of an “all-way” stop as it did not meet the warrants. However, if you have visited the area or driven through it, you would see first-hand why a full stop is needed. This is the problem with the warrants – they are black and white – with little room for context. They don’t take into account the actual experiences on the ground of those living in or passing through in the area.
With respect to this particular intersection, not only are there issues today but we also need to look to the future. The impacts of future developments at the corner which will add even more traffic. (While we don’t know what the actual development will be, we do know that there will be a development at the corner in the future). This intersection also falls right across from an entrance to Fleury Park and many residents walk in the area and cross the street to get to the park. Considering all access points, uses and traffic volumes – current and future – is important when looking at what traffic safety measures may be required.
I firmly believe that Council needs to be proactive when it comes to the safety of our streets and our residents. Reactive decisions, decisions made after the fact, are clearly less effective in managing concerns. I am glad to see that this Council continues to take a proactive approach to decision making; looking at issues not just in terms of today but with a future focus – considering potential impacts in 10, 20 years – as a way to anticipate and better manage potential and emerging issues.
That was the approach Council in the majority took when considering this specific issue. Motion to approve the installation of the all-way stop passed on a vote of 5 – 2.
While we install this first piece of the puzzle that will help create a safer environment for the area, the addition of the “all-way” will not resolve all traffic concerns in the area. Staff and Council will continue to look at what other options are available to help resolve traffic concerns on Machell Ave and Irwin Ave.