Resident outlines ongoing traffic safety concerns in beach area

The following letter was included on the agenda for Monday’s (May 31) meeting of township council.

I would like to lend my support to the growing concern around the substantial traffic hazard which the residents of Thorah Park Boulevard, Maple Beach Road and Cedarhurst Beach Road continue to face.

As a resident of Thorah Park Boulevard for 46 years, I can confidently say that the traffic levels have increased substantially over the past couple of years and it is no longer safe to walk along the road.

As the father of two children, this is quite concerning to me, As we have now encountered several incidents where we have come close to being hit by a speeding vehicle.

I believe there are two key reasons for both the increased traffic and the road hazards we currently face: Recently a yellow line was added to the centre of the road, however, the road is not wide enough to accommodate two car lanes. The yellow line has given the road the mistaken appearance that it is a highway, where in fact, it is a residential road which was designed for limited traffic.

The primary issue we face with the yellow line, is that cars will attempt to stay within their lane and not move over when they see pedestrians or bikers at the side of the road. This has resulted in the many near misses that we have faced, as the lack of shoulder and the substantially deep ditches do not allow pedestrians to move out of the way. If the township is serious about creating a Community Safety Zone, which we wholeheartedly endorse, please start by having a traffic engineer examine the road to determine if it is in fact wide enough to require a center dividing line and correct distance of the necessary speed limit signage.

The second issue that is causing an increased amount of high-speed traffic is that drivers are now using this stretch of residential road to divert around Highway 12 and Regional Road 23 to avoid any potential traffic congestions, as they commute through the area.

This has increased the amount of traffic substantially with a higher concentration of drivers who are not residents of the area. These drivers tend to be in quite a hurry and have been known to drive well over the speed limit. On a narrow two-lane residential road, this is incredibly dangerous.

I would like to see immediate action taken that will enable us to determine effective road safety protocols for this residential area before we face a life-threatening incident.

Please note beyond my concerns about pedestrian and biker safety I would also like to recognize that there are several endangered species in the area which are currently protected by the government of Ontario.

We have witnessed many of these killed on the road due to speeding drivers in recent months and I believe this should also be acknowledged.

While narrow roadways and speeding cars are a major issue, I believe the township should also be aware that recently some of the long straightaways have attracted, for lack of better term, drag racers to the area in the form of motorcycles, ATV’s and custom cars.

Many of these drivers are underage and have little respect for community safety. As an example, two weekends past, one custom car was speeding up and down the road at speeds well over 100 km/hr and after losing control it broke its axl and engine block, then set on fire.

This is just one of the many unsafe driving incidents we witness everyday.

We appreciate all your support in the matter and I am looking forward to hearing further from you, as to how we can overcome these current road safety issues.

Aaron Bilyea