Brockville Times file photo
Brockville Coun. Larry Journal listens to discussion at a finance and administration committee meeting in this February photo.

A Brockville city council committee heard two very different visions of Brockville roads this week: quick vs. slow.

Former city councillor Henry Noble was on the side of quick, using a global warming argument to advocate measures to speed up traffic throughout town to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In the slow lane were councillors Larry Journal (pictured above) and Leigh Bursey, who are fans of using stop signs and speed bumps to calm traffic.

In a presentation to the planning and operations committee, Noble linked stop signs, traffic lights and speed bumps to the crisis of climate change.

Noble said that cars burn nearly twice as much gas as cars on highways, in part due to idling at lights and stop signs on vacant streets.

Unnecessary idling causes pollution, irritating drivers and costing them extra money for gas.

“Does it make sense to have vehicles stopped at a stoplight at 3 a.m. when the only traffic for miles is skunks, cats and raccoons?” Noble asked.

The solution, according to him, is to make changes to allow traffic to flow more smoothly.

Suggestions included changing the traffic lights to flashing greens, yellows and reds during off-hours; re-timing the lights to allow better traffic flow; or employing technology that uses cameras to control lights based on traffic surveillance.

Noble said that emissions produced from an idling car at a Brockville stoplight may seem small in the big picture of global warming, but small initiatives add up.

Cities are on the front line of the fight, said Noble. “It’s urgent that we get serious about carbon.”

Journal and Bursey on the other hand took a different tack at the committee meeting.

Journal proposed a motion (accepted by the committee) that city staff research and report ways of slowing down traffic in Brockville.

Journal requested staff to study the pros and cons of measures such as electronic speed signs, speed bumps, three- or four-way stop signs on residential streets, and traffic cameras.

Bursey said that the safety of the community is paramount for him, and that he favours stops and other measures if they make streets safer.

Journal did concede that some of Noble’s points may have merit, and asked that staff include them in the study.

Journal said that he has advocated for yield signs to replace stop signs at some locations in the past.

Source: The Brockville Recorder & Times