NEWMARKET – York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch; Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell, Chair of the York Region Transportation and Works Committee; and York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge, announced changes to the traffic signals at the busy intersection of Yonge Street and Davis Drive (Highway 9) in Newmarket today to kick-off to a new Combating Traffic Congestion Plan.
“Traffic congestion continues to be a growing problem across our Region,” said Chair Fisch. “Today, we’re making steps to alleviate congestion. This is the first element in a new Combating Traffic Congestion Plan, designed to keep people and goods moving on our roads.”
An analysis conducted by York Region Transportation and Works staff suggested that by installing a “protected/permissive” left turn signal, which allows cars to turn if the roadway is clear after the advanced green has terminated, traffic delay could decrease by as much as 38 per cent.
The existing “fully protected” traffic signals at the intersection of Yonge Street and Davis Drive, which permit left turns only when the left turn arrow is illuminated, have been in place since the 1960s when it was a rural area with a higher speed limit. The Government of Ontario had jurisdiction over the intersection until 1996, when it was assumed by York Region.
“The Yonge Street and Davis Drive signals were clearly designed to manage a lot less traffic than currently exists on Yonge Street today,” said Mayor Bell. “Upgrading signals along heavily used arterial roads makes sense to ensure that we keep the traffic moving.”
The analysis of the Yonge Street and Davis Drive signals follows a 2003 review of 27 arterial roads. The review suggested that by modifying signals along the roadways, delays could be decreased – in some instances by more than 50 per cent.
“Road congestion causes frustration for drivers, and frustration often leads to unsafe driving,” said Police Chief La Barge. “From a traffic safety perspective, alleviating congestion can only serve to help cut down on this frustration factor.”
Changes have been implemented on the 2003 reviews, and changes will be made to a number of traffic signals along arterial roads throughout 2004 as part of a Light Signalization Improvement Program. Advertisements will appear in local newspapers and bright road signs will be installed at affected intersections, to alert residents to the changes. It is anticipated that the Yonge Street and Davis Drive signals will be modified the week of April 19th.
The Combating Traffic Congestion Plan is comprised of the following key initiatives:
• Reducing delays along portions of arterial roads through traffic light signalization improvements
o Delays have already been reduced up to 52 per cent in some sections
• York Regional Police Save-a-Life Campaign
o The 2003/04 Operation Winter Blitz proved a huge success in educating drivers about the need to alter their driving habits in adverse conditions
• York Region Capital Roads Budget
o $156.3 million that includes the widening of many roads and intersection enhancements
• York Region Transit (YRT)
o Purchase 35 new conventional YRT buses and 5 Mobility Plus specialized buses
• York Rapid Transit Plan
o $150 million partnership with the Federal and Provincial governments
• Smart Commute Initiative
o Finalizing an agreement this Spring creating two new Transportation Management Associations in the Region
• Advocating for the Expansion of Highway 404 and Highway 427
o Important for the Region’s economic growth
For more information about the Combating Traffic Congestion Plan, including results from the signal study, please see attached media releases and fact sheets.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca