Sunday, June 08, 2008

ungoverned governor's?

Audit suggests changes to update road philosophy
Participants watch Governor's drivers ignore rules during school dismissal

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News
Published on Jun 06, 2008

Governor's Road is still treated as a highway access to Dundas, despite a drastic change in its use, Dundas' public school board trustee said last week.

Jessica Brennan participated in a safety walkabout on Governor's Road, joining a group that focussed on traffic, pedestrian and cycling issues around the new Sir William Osler Elementary School. Another group focussed on issues around St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School, less than one kilometre away.

"It's the philosophy of the road," Ms. Brennan said during a short discussion that raised no less than 19 issues to pursue, following last Thursday's safety review.

"It used to be thought of as a highway into Dundas. That doesn't address the current use."

She noted Governor's Road now revolves around educational and residential uses, with a new focus on pedestrians and cyclists. Ms. Brennan's comments echoed points made by many other participants.

Most agreed the philosophy of the road, and driver attitude, has to change to meet the reality of its current use.

To help address this, the City of Hamilton will reassess placement of crossing guards on Governor's Road, and consider a recommendation to move the current crossing guard at Creighton Road to Huntingwood, and potentially adding a second crossing guard at Bridlewood.

Governor's Road will also be reviewed for dedicated bike lanes. The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board will be asked to add more bike racks to accommodate a large number of students who ride to school.

Concern was also expresssed about the lack of sidewalks on Governor's Road, beyond Moss Boulevard.

Organized by Transportation for Livable Communities and city staff from public health and traffic services, the walkabout included Dundas councillor Russ Powers and his administrative assistant Arlene Vanderbeek, the local public school trustee, staff of St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School and parents from Sir William Osler - but no staff representatives of Highland Secondary School or Sir William Osler.

In total, 17 people participated in the safety review, during Safe Kids Week.

St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School Principal Rukshi Athulathmudali will request increased police and bylaw enforcement of No Stopping and No Parking areas in front of the school.

During last week's audit, a car made an illegal U-turn in front of the school then parked on the sidewalk, in a clearly marked No Stopping zone.

Several students dashed across Governor's Road from between parked cars crammed into a no parking area intended for emergency vehicles. School staff discourage parents from parking there, but the bylaw does permit parking for 15-minutes.

Ms. Athulathmudali would also like to see a curb, or sidewalk, placed across the street from the school, to dissuade drivers from passing on the soft shoulder or attempting U-turns.

It was suggested relocating a Creighton and Governor's crossing guard closer to St. Bernadette at Huntingwood, would provide a closer crossing option for young students.

Ms. Athulathmudali also said drivers are not obeying the 40 km-h flashing school zone that includes the three school stretch of Governor's Road.

Without assistance

Over at Sir William Osler, Ms. Brennan noticed there were more school children crossing Governor's Road than the single crossing guard could accommodate. That resulted in some students crossing at different areas without the assistance of a crossing guard.

A second guard at Osler and relocating a guard to Huntingwood will be part of the Governor's Road crossing guard analysis by the city.

Several vehicles speeding along Governor's Road illegally used the unpaved shoulder to pass another car waiting to turn left into the school's parking lot.

Ms. Athulathmudali, and a St. Bernadette teacher also participating in the safety walk, said drivers speeding by on the shoulder is a common occurrence that has resulted in a few staff members being rear-ended in front of the school.

Ms. Brennan also asked for an update on a proposed Governor's Road roundabout, and the potential widening of the street.

A list of 19 issues and questions raised during last week's walkabout, including investigation of traffic calming measures and increasing by-law and police enforcement, has been produced and representatives of the city, school boards, or Transportation for Livable Communities have been asked to follow-up.

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