Multiple Street Projects Reviewed

Two streets are getting “urbanized” and one new one will be built.  Engineering on the work is well under way and plans were on display at a Public Information Centre at the CCC on Tuesday.  Both Albert Street (Hibernia to Third)  and Mathew Street are currently in bad shape and need curbs, repaving and new water mains as well as adjustment of some Hydro routes.  But the biggest project is the construction of Kerr Street between Division and D’Arcy with a spur West of Division.  This will cost $2M or more.  Traffic lights at Ewart will be taken out and new ones installed instead at the new intersection of Kerr and Division.  Northam Park’s West Street will also be extended to Kerr to become the new main access to the Industrial park.

Info Centre re Roads
Info Centre re Roads

Kerr Street will then become a major East West route complete with Street lights and an adjacent bicycle/pedestrian path.  One benefit is that traffic southbound on D’Arcy will be able to use Kerr to bypass traffic hold-ups caused by freight trains at the level crossing just south of Kerr.

Although initially built as a 2 lane road, there will be provision for easy expansion to 4 lanes.  Long term plans include linking existing sections at the West end of Town and extending the East end to Brook so that it truly becomes an arterial road.

Some will be pleased to know that the intersection of D’Arcy and Kerr will not feature a roundabout.  It will also not have traffic lights – at least not initially.

Note that the short extension of Kerr west from Division to the Midtown creek flood reduction pond is also part of the project.

The Public Information Centre was well attended – see the photo above which includes Works Director Laurie Wills explaining a detail to Mayor John Henderson.  Since it was a drop-in format lasting two hours, counting attendance was not feasible for me.

In 2017 there was $1.7M in the budget for this project (plus $200K for the spur) but it was mostly not spent.  Since then, some engineering has obviously been done but the projects will need budget approval if they are to happen in 2020.   Stay tuned.

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CiW

And some will be very displeased to know that the D’Arcy – Kerr intersection will not have a roundabout! I fail to understand why some Luddites cannot fathom how to use a roundabout and enjoy it’s advantages. Is it too late to change the design?

Wally Keeler

WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves… The new estimate is explained by better information about pollution exposures among the estimated 2.9 billion people living in homes using wood, coal or dung as their primary cooking fuel…” https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/

The stupid IDEA of measuring ‘fine dust pollution” at King/Division streets will have no bearing on anything. It is a waste of a wad of cash just because something “can be devastating“. It can be, perhaps, maybe, but let’s spend cash anyway on a stupid IDEA.

There is a reason why the Town has never made such a measurement — the IDEA is stupid. So let’s presume the Town falls for this stupid IDEA, then what? Is the Town expected to ‘do something’? What might that something be? No one says.

Not only is the IDEA stupid, it is incomplete because it has no stated purpose, other than a pathetic APPEAL to make a global difference.

Here’s an IDEA for those concerned about the particulate matter from emissions at King/Divisions — ride a bike.

Walter Luedtke

Extend Kerr Street and make King Street a pedestrian zone except during the winter.
Has there ever been a measurement of air pollution and especially fine dust pollution from the traffic stopping and starting on King Street?
The effects of pollution can be devastating, and we are only just beginning to discover their true extent. Recently scientists put the number of early deaths caused worldwide by air pollution at double previous estimates: 8.8 million a year, according to research published in the European Heart Journal, meaning toxic air is killing more people than tobacco smoking. Guardian

Rational

One of the posters suggests the Kerr extension will be ideal for Seniors on mobility scooters. That may be, but as the area at the start point does not have any major residential areas it may be dangerous travelling to the start point.

Wally Keeler

Seniors with mobility scooters south of University Ave have no safe means to get to the CCC because of the danger of the Darcy Street railway crossing. Even if paved from Division to Darcy it still provides a safer route from old Cobourg to the CCC than crossing the railway tracks. There’s an underpass on Division. In the future, mobility folks from the west end will have a safe route to the CCC without having the cross the tracks. Left as is, then seniors will be disadvantaged in their ability to have a safe route to the CCC.

Rational

The Kerr Street expansion is, In my view, an irresponsible waste of tax payers money. I would think this short extension will not have any material impact or improve the lives of residents of Cobourg. Town Leadership and its staff Department Heads need to act more responsibly and clearly establish what are the priorities of Cobourg. There are simply to many projects and consultant review being undertaken and greater care must be taken with taxpayers money.

Miriam Mutton

It may be helpful to take a look at the bigger picture. Kerr Street build out eventually will be fully across the Town. It has to be built in sections because it would be too expensive in one go. In an aerial photo view it can be seen Kerr Street is an old rail line corridor. As for the four lane future, nowadays this typically looks like our William or Division Streets. I do not expect so in the future when the only good thing about such an idea is that vehicles like cars will have only two main lanes and the additional width would be useful for other active transportation needs e.g. bike lanes and traffic control e.g. turning lanes. Any idea to build a ‘freeway’ to by-pass the community, especially downtown, should be nicked in the bud asap. Kerr Street should become a beautiful avenue that helps people using all forms of transportation get to all major areas in town.

Wally Keeler

The old rail line was the Grand Trunk Railway. Elgin is a satisfactory multilane thoroughfare, so that takes the pressure off the Kerr St extension becoming a multi-laner. With an aging population electric mobility scooters will grow in use, and a well designed extension providing a lane for bikes and mobility scooters will allow seniors living in the west end of Town to easily access the CCC without having to cross railway tracks.

Pete M

Wally
It wasnt Grand trunk. It was in fact the Canadian Northern Railway. That ran from Toronto thru North Oshawa, Orono, Port Hope to Kingston.
The MTO office Port Hope is an example of their Stations.
The Grand Trunk line is today’s CN rail line in Cobourg

Wally Keeler

Noted, and thanks.

Durka

We will see how this is recieved but I would’ve liked to have seen the town develop a green corridor along Kerr St. Bikes and pedestrian only, lined with lots of trees, properly plowed so people could actually bike year round, . Instead we’re building more roads in the obsession with the car. The town is becoming what people despise of the GTA, cars and roads everywhere. No creativity in avoiding that, just keep building roads. Of course one of the main selling features of this project is it can become 4 lanes in the future. Wow!

Art

Thinking of “street improvements”, maybe those responsible for the recent change in the stop light settings at Elgin and Ontario could take a look at how much it really has caused much traffic delay when going “west” on Elgin . Those left turn signals might be necessary BUT the length of timing differential between going “west” and going east is sure causing issues at the intersection.

Durka

Everyone waits longer at that light now. What a ridiculous idea that was.

jimq

Setting those stop lights up was studied in great detail, and the new set up has shown to be much much safer than the old way. That’s a busy intersection. Many people were breaking the law and going through the red in the past. Now the timing is such with a longer amber that if someone is caught going through on red, they are easily nailed and convicted. Few bother to obey the speed limit along Elgin. This new light set up regulates the volume and tends to slow down the idiot speeders. It’s a very fair set up. Sorry that you fellows are in such a big rush.

greengrass

missus & i put on over 2000 miles first week in Oct. traveling through Ont. city’s & towns & never ounce encountered a set of lights with that timing sequence? what the hell is wrong with an advanced green in both directions at the same time like all the ones we encountered every were else?

ADM

Durka…. What you are really saying is that peoples safety is not worth a few extra seconds….Are you really in that much of a hurry?
Art…… All I have seen is a slight inconvienece associate with the longer wait times ( and yes longer lines of traffic)…..but the green arrows clear the lanes faster than what was happening before….I have never seen a time where there was a two light wait to get through the intersection which happened frequently due to turning traffic……

Just Wondering

Longer wait times means vehicles are stuck idling needlessly. This is creating excessive pollution when we need to be finding ways to combat climate change, not make it worse.

cornbread

Quite a few new cars automatically turn off their engines when at a stop…then start up again as soon as you again step on the gas pedal…time will take care of your concern with excessive pollution…also automobiles are getting cleaner every year.

Ken

I agree!!! The traffic light ‘sequence’ seems to cause a lot of hold ups….for no reason?
A long green light and turning arrow, for east bound traffic turning north on Ontario, does not seem to be needed….or the timing needs to be shortened?
Another of my ‘pet peaves’ is the fact that within the boundries of Cobourg, the length of time the ‘orange’ light is lit, at traffic lights….is far too short?

Miriam Mutton

Ask a few pedestrians what they think of the Ontario/Elgin intersection, both before and after the recent signal light pattern changes. Crossing feels unsafe in both scenarios.

jimq

The pedestrians now have a longer crossing time if they follow the instructions on the posts. More than enough time now compared to what it was before, but it only works if they use the proper crossing buttons.

Ally

As I pedestrian who uses his light I find it highly frustrating as we have to wait for multiple cycles before we can cross. It was far easier, quicker and straightforward before. Everyone, pedestrian and vehicles are left bewildered by this whacky intersection. Cars are backed up far worse than they ever were, everyone just wait wait waiting. There’s a reason I’ve never encountered an intersection like this in my life. It’s stupid.

jimq

The time may be a few seconds more, but the safety factor is now there. In the past it simply didn’t allow sufficient safe time to walk across. Better safe after waiting a tiny bit, than getting clobbered by some speeding nutbar.

cornbread

How about fixing a street in the west end that has dearly loved to be leveled out for the last 20 years, and this condition has been reported to council for this length of time. I speak of Tremaine Street. The houses in the previously vacant lots have now been built next to the old Cobourg Star/Cooey building, so council should have no more valid excuses not to make the necessary repairs.

Dubious

Making Kerr Street an arterial east-west road will provide another route to avoid Cobourg’s downtown. Is this part of the plan?

Paul Pagnuelo

If $1.7 Million was in the 2017 Budget but not spent, the important question is how were the costs to be funded? Increased taxes, new debt, reserves or a combination of the three? If taxes were collected in 2017 to fund a portion or all of this project, presumably they were deposited into a reserve fund.

There are a lot of demands building up for Budget 2020 and the challenge will be to focus on the priorities where the infrastructure is failing. Not building a cross town arterial route that will devalue properties along its border and,quite frankly, is far from a critical necessity in today’s Cobourg commute.

Which makes the theme of Budget 2020 all the more important to adhere to.

Deborah O'Connor

Used to ride my bike along Kerr St. from D’arcy to Division. Then as now there are no residential buildings at either end. That was in the 50s.

Wally Keeler

That’s a wonderful stretch for biking, especially now with the tree colours, but also late spring and summer for the meadow ambiance. Did you also continue on from Darcy thru to Brook Rd N, passing “hobo jungle?”

Durka

Won’t be anymore “meadow ambiance” once the town is done paving over it.

Wally Keeler

There’s plenty of meadows in Cobourg. As a child, I used to walk with my grandmother early Saturday mornings as she walked into Town from Hulls’ Corner to sell her eggs, there were lots of meadows and swamps on both sides as we walked in. It’s all gone now; it’s a 5-laner. Indeed, progress paved (401) over our favourite swimming hole. But that’s the way it goes; life is a verb, not a noun.

There is a meadow at Lucas Point Park, and the best of them all, is downtown, the west beach with the Ecology Garden acting as concierge and sentry, and a boardwalk well–used. What other Town in Ontario has a meadow downtown?