On February 23, Regional Council approved modifications to Merivale Rd. between Central Park Dr. (north) and Baseline Road. The modifications are for phase II of the Central Park development and include:
1. A new traffic light will be installed at the corner of Central Park Dr. (south) and Merivale Rd.
2. A raised median will be constructed on Merivale Rd. between Central Park Dr. (north) and connect to the existing median across from Nortel. This will prevent left-turn access into the sales centre.
3. A new right in/right out intersection will be constructed for the retail plaza to be built south of the existing sales centre.
4. The Nortel parking lot entrance just south of Central Park Dr. (south) will be removed. Traffic will be directed onto Central Park Dr. (south).
5. A continuous bicycle lane will be provided between Central Park Dr. north and south for southbound traffic.
6. A 2.0 metre wide sidewalk will be installed along the west side of Merivale Rd.
All of the modifications are to be paid for by Ashcroft Developments Inc.
In 1997, the basic design for the modifications for Merivale Rd was approved by Regional Council. This included two traffic lights for the two Central Park Dr. intersections, a right in/right out intersection for the northern commercial development and an all-movement intersection for the sales centre.
In 1997, a simple intersection at Central Park Dr. (north) was constructed. The intersection for the sales centre was built. Two new bus stops were added along Merivale Rd. at Central Park Dr. (north).
In 1998, Hydro wires were moved all along Merivale Rd. between the apartment building and Nortel to make way for the road modifications. Central Park Dr. north became a signalized intersection. The right in/right out intersection for the northern commercial block was built, but not used. A median and sidewalk were installed north of the sales centre.
In 1999, a simple intersection for Central Park Dr. (south) was constructed, and the old farm road that was used as a construction road was closed. The intersection for the northern commercial block started to be used. A bus shelter was installed for southbound travelers at Central Park Dr. (north).
At the Regional Transportation Committee Meeting on February 16, comments from the community were heard in relation to the proposed modifications of Merivale Rd. On behalf of the Central Park Citizens Group, I raised several points, which were addressed by Regional staff.
1. That the entrance to the Nortel parking lot, which is very close to the new proposed intersection be removed. Staff comment: it would be.
2. That both signalized intersections will be timed so as not to cause a high volume of traffic backing up along Merivale Rd; there is also a long waiting period at the signals coming out of the development on weekends. Staff comment: agreed to examine the signal timing; signals at the side streets may become activated by traffic.
3. That the Region push the priority up on redeveloping Baseline/Merivale intersection because traffic does back up into the new Central Park Dr. (south) intersection during peak periods when traffic is turning left onto Baseline Rd. Staff comment: there is currently a study underway at Baseline and Merivale and staff are examining that intersection from safety perspective, not a capacity perspective;
4. That the proposal for a median from the north to the south entrance of Central Park Dr. will prohibit access by cyclists to McCooey Lane which is widely used by cyclists and pedestrians. Staff comment: want to make it accessible for cyclists, but not motorists, and this issue will be addressed in the detailed design;
5. That transit shelters be provided for the recommended bus stops at the south intersection. Staff comment: the suggestion would be passed along to OC Transpo;
6. That the Queensway overpass at Maitland Ave. may be under construction again this summer, and that construction on Merivale Rd. and Maitland Avenue should not occur at the same time. Staff comment: agree to look at the timing of the construction for these projects and agreed to work with the Ontario Government to ensure both projects are not done at the same time.
Also at the meeting, Ron Jack, representing Ashcroft opposed restricting left turns in to the sales centre for the next year or two, until the sales centre is no longer required. Staff comment: that since signals are available at the north intersection, motorists will be able to access the sales centre by turning left into the site and then making a left-turn to the sales centre.