A pedestrian walkway over Hwy 17 isn’t what the Ontario Transportation Ministry should be working on right now, Coun. Mike Anthony says.
Anthony was responding to a staff recommendation at Monday night’s committee meeting of council to support the overpass, which would extend from Chippewa Street to Frost Street.
“We have what I think, in my opinion, is a far more serious problem a mile or two over, on Hwy 1/17 with the railroad tracks near Seymour Street,” Anthony said.
Traffic stops for “five, 10, 15, 20 minutes at a time,” Anthony said when a train crosses on the tracks.
“Hundreds of cars get lined up there, people are trying pass on the shoulder of the road, and this is the entrance to our city where visitors from Ottawa and Toronto arrive?” Anthony said.
“I'd rather see the MTO get active on that problem first.”
Senior Municipal Engineer George Elliott said there has been discussion about the issue with the MTO over the last year or year and a half.
Elliott said the cost of building an overpass over the tracks would be “astronomical” and it would also involve realigning the entrance to the Northgate Shopping Centre.
He also said the MTO is still working on the proposed Route 6, another bypass coming off the Hwy 11/17 interchange.
Elliott also suggested the city could consider a resolution regarding alleviating traffic congestion on Hwy 11/17 near the tracks.
“Our engineering staff still suggests we support the walkway over 17,” Anthony said following the meeting, “and I do want to see improvements there as well. But we've got to lobby the MTO to get active on this train track issue over by Seymour Street.”
The Engineering and Works Committee approved the recommendation regarding the overpass.