What started as a simple crosswalk near Manotick’s new seniors’ residence has blossomed into a full-fledged signalized intersection - for five times the cost.
Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt had requested that $50,000 be included in the city’s 2013 budget to install a pedestrian crosswalk near the Dickinson Street intersection on Bridge St., primarily to provide safe crossing for seniors living at a nearby residence currently under construction. Developer Joe Princiotta promised another $50,000 for the project.
But when the 2013 budget was drafted, staff added $500,000 to the project’s funding envelope in case traffic engineers felt a full traffic light was warranted instead. At the time, Moffatt said it likely wasn’t.
Now staff are going ahead with the more complex plan, and are combining it with a tender for the nearby Van Vliet Road extension that should begin construction this spring.
The village has been clamoring for a signalized intersection to allow west-bound left-hand turns onto Bridge for more than 30 years. The Van Vliet connection’s approval last fall finally met that need, but now with no fight at all, a second complete signalized intersection has been dropped into residents’ laps as well.
“We’ve migrated from something that was simple and straightforward to something that’s more complicated and costly,” said Manotick Village Community Association president Klaus Beltzner. He said he supports the intersection, although it would not be his first priority.
“There are so many locations where there’s a traffic light needed,” he said. “If I had one choice of where to put it, it wouldn’t be there. But given all the other information, I support it.”
Moffatt said staff decided to pursue the more costly option for several reasons, including pedestrian safety.
“With pedestrian crosswalks, not everyone knows how to use them,” Moffatt said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for them to cross the street.”
Another problem arose from placing the crosswalk on the west side of Dickinson, which could create more cut-through traffic in front of Watson’s Mill because drivers could turn left unencumbered when the crosswalk was engaged.
A fully signalized intersection is warranted as well with the anticipation of traffic in and out of the new seniors’ residence, and planned development at the city’s nearby Clapp Lane property, Beltzner said.
The project will now include crosswalks in every direction. It will also realign Dickinson Street and Dickinson Circle and designate left hand turn lanes in each direction.
At a community association meeting on Jan. 16, Beltzner and fellow member Ted Ross pushed for a public meeting on the project, even though it cannot be cancelled and will go to tender quickly.
The men argued that residents can still have input into the intersection’s synchronization and provide feedback on reducing cut-through temptations around Dickinson Square.
“The cost of this deserves a public meeting,” Ross said. “I have concerns about it. There are probably people on Dickinson Street that will be concerned about it.”
Moffatt said he will plan a meeting as soon as possible.
Watch manotickvca.org for details.