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'It's absolutely terrifying': Newmarket residents welcome anti-speeding measures on Penn

Town highlights new traffic calming measures getting used this year
2022 03 22 - Newmarket Penn Avenue - JQ
Newmarket resident Leta Watson said speeding on Penn Avenue is significant concern.

Newmarket resident Leta Watson said she has nearly been hit while trying to cross Penn Avenue, even while wheeling a stroller with her child.

She said she was happy to hear the Town of Newmarket may enact more speed reduction measures on the residential road, which is also the location of Maple Leaf Public School.

“We always have to be very vigilant … It’s absolutely terrifying,” Watson said of the street. “It’s scary because they’re just in such a hurry to drop their kids off (at school).”

Committee of the whole approved a motion March 21 to enact temporary measures on the street this year, including bollards, solar radar speed boards and signage, along with requesting more police enforcement. The staff report leaves the door open for more permanent measures if those do not prove effective, such as speed humps or chicanes. 

Staff studied the road with a 40 km/h speed limit and found the average speed was 44.5 km/h. But the operating speed was 52 km/h, the speed at or below 85 per cent of motorists travel. 

Councillor Trevor Morrison, who asked for a study there, said it was a good report to see.

“It’s nice to see the data sort of justifies the concern,” Morrison said. 

Morrison asked whether an all-way stop is possible on Penn, which director of engineering services Rachel Prudhomme replied is something staff could further study. Council included that direction in its resolution. 

Area resident Amanda Ellis said speeding occurs on Penn quite frequently, even late at night.

“If something could be done to reduce it, it would be greatly appreciated,” she said. “There are families in the neighbourhood." 

New traffic calming tools

Staff also provided an overview of the traffic calming program to council March 21, including piloting cutout signs of a child asking drivers to slow down. That sign will be installed at Lorne Avenue and one other location to be determined.

Councillor Bob Kwapis said traffic mitigation is a concern throughout town. But he said he welcomes the traffic calming measures upcoming, such as urban shoulders to narrow roads and the installation of more temporary traffic bollards. 

“I am happy to see some innovative ideas are being brought forward,” Kwapis said. “The speed mitigation is being looked into seriously in order to help all the residents throughout town.” 

He asked about putting in more bollards on William Roe Boulevard, a street that garnered a petition over speed concerns. Prudhomme said councillors could speak with staff about specific roads in need of attention. 

Mayor John Taylor said the town has put a lot of work into the issue.

“This has been a strategic priority of council,” Mayor John Taylor said. “We’re seeing significant progress.”

Watson said she would welcome further traffic measures on Penn and is glad action is being taken.

“I’m happy to know that they’re doing something about this,” she said. “I just kind of thought that was a lost cause.”