A vehicle turns at the discussed intersection

Light questioned
Staff Photo/Susie Kockerscheidt
York Region is planning to put a traffic light at the intersection of Centre Street and Mount Albert Road. Some question the need for the light and whether or not it will pose a hazard in winter.

In most cases, when traffic lights are installed, it is with the idea of making the road safer.

But several Mount Albert residents are concerned proposed traffic lights at Mount Albert Road and Centre Street will actually make the road less safe.

“This is a super bad idea. Do any of the council live in Mount Albert and see the traffic on this hill?” resident Kim Hughes said. “Adding to what is not a problem at this time is crazy.”

She wasn’t the only one taken aback.

When Councillor Tara Roy-DiClemente posted news on a local Mount Albert Facebook page, it garnered dozens of responses.

“It will make the intersection much more dangerous,” resident and former councillor Cathy Morton said. “I think the region is making a huge mistake by even considering putting traffic signals there.”

One of the main concerns voiced by residents objecting to lights at the top of the hill is that vehicles will have to stop in the winter on the intersection’s steep grade.

The region came to the decision after council requested safety improvements on the regional road. Roy-DiClemente said the most she expected from the region was a flashing light at the top of the hill.

York Region director of road and traffic operations Brian Titherington admitted the intersection has an awkward design.

“It’s not about the traffic, it’s about traffic safety,” Titherington said. The lights were not warranted from the traffic numbers but, due to blind spots at the top of the hill, lights should bring improved safety, he said, adding pedestrian safety would also improve.

Titherington cited regional intersections on Bathurst Street and St. John’s Sideroad and Leslie Street and St. John’s as other examples of traffic signals on steep slopes.

The region plans on completing the traffic signal design this year with implementation scheduled for sometime in 2017.

What was puzzling for a lot of Mount Albert residents is they don’t recall a long history of accidents at the intersection.

“I have lived in Mount Albert going on 18 years and can’t say I have seen many accidents at the spot,” Hughes said.

Titherington confirmed it was local concerns and not collision history that prompted the region’s review of the intersection.

Roy-DiClemente has heard concerns since she started campaigning for council in 2010 but she isn’t sure lights are the answer.

“I’m not the expert,” she said.

“If it’s not broken, then don’t fix it,” Morton said.

Source: yorkregion.com