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'Troublesome' downtown corner doesn't warrant all-way stop, city staff say

'I was actually surprised that there were only two collisions in a three-year period,' says ward councillor
14-09-2021 OwenWell776
Barrie intersection of Owen Street and Wellington Street East

Barrie’s intersection of Wellington Street East and Owen Street won’t have all-way stop signs anytime soon.

City staff say the intersection doesn’t warrant an all-way stop, but Ward 2 Coun. Keenan Aylwin wants to take another look.

“This is a particularly troublesome intersection,” said Aylwin, who represents the area. “I was actually surprised that there were only two collisions in a three-year period. I’m sure there were a couple more that weren’t reported.”

Council policy is not to investigate the same intersection within a six-month period. Staff looked at this corner last March.

Existing traffic controls at Owen Street and Wellington Street East require vehicles travelling north/south on Owen to stop at Wellington.

Staff have investigated this intersection to determine if an all-way stop is warranted, based on criteria within the Ontario Traffic Manual (OTM) concerning regulatory signs, which is based on volume, collision history and stopping sight distance at the intersection.

Staff say property owners expressed no issues with the existing stop signs at the intersection, but they have concerns with all-way stop signs there that could potentially increase collisions during winter months, as the intersection is on a slight hill on Wellington Street East.

Staff measured sight lines at the intersection to ensure the stopping sight distances were adequate. The shortest distance measured was 110  metres, when stopped southbound on Owen, looking east onto Wellington. This distance is greater than the minimum stopping sight distance for the OTM warrant. Therefore, staff determined there are no issues with sight lines.

OTM requires 500 vehicles every hour, for the busiest eight hours, to warrant all-way stop signs at this intersection. City staff recorded an average of 448 vehicles during an eight-hour stretch.

But Aylwin noted the pandemic had reduced traffic throughout Barrie at that time.

“So it’s likely that traffic numbers aren’t accurate, compared to other years,” he said. “I’m wondering if there’s an opportunity for us to take another look at this as we get back to ‘normal’ times.”

Staff said it could be done.

The OTM warrant for collisions is an average of four per year during the three-year stretch. This intersection has had two collisions during a three-year period.

And visibility warranting all-way stop signs must be less than 105 metres. Staff found 110 metres to be the shortest distance.

The city also sent questionnaires to 27 property owners on Owen Street and Wellington Street East. There were two replies, and both said leave traffic controls as is.

Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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