Shoreline residents are upset, but this time it’s about something they profess is on them.
“Road safety is us; it’s all of us. It’s us on the road,” said Lynne Archibald, secretary, Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations. “I think it’s something people think we ought to be able to make better. It’s not a pandemic.”
Yet, she was making a presentation to Tiny Township council asking them to take steps to increase road safety in the Tiny Beaches Road area.
“We had some people reach out to us about road safety so we thought we would do a survey to find out what they feel,” Archibald said.
“We had a fantastic response,” she added talking about the 37% response rate. That number was good enough for the association to give itself a pat on the back. “It was actually the highest response we’d ever had, nearly 40%.”
Archibald said although another local media outlet didn’t think so, “It’s actually an incredible response rate for surveys.”
In an article in advance of her presentation, MidlandToday reported that 450 or so responses were received from the more than 1,200 potential participants it was sent to.
Archibald shared some of the highlights of the survey that also contains more than 80 pages of comments from respondents.
Out of all respondents, she said, 37% feel unsafe on Tiny Beaches Road (in general) and 40% feel unsafe on summer weekends.
Archibald said that 96% feel unsafe because of speeding, but they don’t want the speed limit to go down, just to be respected. The culprits, as identified by survey respondents, include younger drivers, older people in sports cars, and even Tiny Township vehicles.
Archibald also said the survey indicates that vehicles don’t yield to cyclists and pedestrians, and the narrow shoulders or the lack thereof forces people to rub up against poison ivy.
As for solutions to the problem, respondents suggest speed signs, OPP enforcement and removable speed bumps. However, 53% of respondents believe more all-way stop signs would increase safety. Another 68% do not want crosswalks on Tiny Beaches Road, but 30% would like crosswalks opposite beach access points but added caution because they didn’t want to advertize the access points.
More details on the survey are available online.
Council was appreciative of the information contained in the survey, however, Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma pointed out one factor that was missing: the money question.
“A lot of (the surveys) are asking for an increase in services but the surveys don’t ask if people are willing to pay more for them,” he said. “In future, it would be a good idea to ask that question and ask what services they would be willing to see cut in return for those services.”
Coun. Tony Mintoff said he agreed with a lot of the comments included in the survey.
“I see that a lot of the comments are pointing towards the need for a photo radar,” he said. “Council has directed staff to create a placeholder in the 2021 budget to look at he feasibility and practicality of a photo radar. We have signs galore but they don’t seem to be working. Speed bumps are very expensive to put in and put out. I think that when people start to realize that there’s a consequence to their poor behaviour and it’s in the pocket book, they’ll start to realize it’s an expensive game.”
He then addressed the suggestion for increased OPP presence.
“My personal beliefe is we’re paying $2.5 million for policing in the Township of Tiny and it seems to me that speed control is a community safety issue,” said Mintoff, adding he would like to look at the cost of increasing OPP paid duties, relative to how much the township receive from the tickets issued. “It doesn’t cost us a lot in the net result so I would say encourage us to consider having more police presence as well, at least until a decision is made on the photo radar.”
Tim Leitch, director of public works, also added that staff is working on a municipal transportation master plan that will look at various factors, such as speed, volume, intersections, and truck routes.
No decisions were made Monday, as council will discuss the matter at its next meeting.