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Summerside council ignores staff recommendation on Elm Street intersection

Summerside City Hall
Summerside City Hall - Jason Malloy

Summerside Coun. Carrie Adams is typically driving through the busy intersection beside Elm Street Elementary School twice a day, she said.

She drops her kid off there every weekday morning and picks them up in the afternoon - both of which are peak traffic times for the school.

Because there are so many kids along or crossing the road during those times motorists must drive with caution, which makes the Elm Street and Willow Avenue intersection even riskier for vehicles to drive through.

"Right now you're just constantly hesitating," Adams said. "A stop sign would be very warranted."

Some city staff and councillors might beg to differ. Overall, four motions regarding ways to slow down motorists in particular parts of Summerside were put before its council during its regular meeting at city hall on Oct. 19 - only two of which were approved.

Coun. Barb Ramsay had brought the motions forward despite city staff conducting reviews on each one, deeming four-way stops and speed bumps unwarranted. She's seen for herself how fast motorists tend to drive past Elm Street, she said.

"It's the only school in Summerside that doesn't have the protections that other schools have," she said. "A school zone which has been ignored."

Summerside councillor Barb Ramsay spoke during council's regular meeting at city hall on Sept. 21. - Daniel Brown/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Summerside councillor Barb Ramsay spoke during council's regular meeting at city hall on Sept. 21. - Daniel Brown/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


Both she and Coun. Cory Snow have heard from many residents in the area that speeding needs to be addressed. As well, the city has put four-way stops in at similar areas which have been received positively by residents, Snow said.

"At the end of the day, I think they're the experts."

Coun. Brian McFeely was among those who opted to vote against the motions as he was troubled by research he had done on four-way stops that speaks to the dangers of placing them at unwarranted intersections.

"Studies show they become more dangerous," he said.

Summerside Coun. Brian McFeely  - Contributed
Summerside Coun. Brian McFeely - Contributed


He had encouraged councillors to do their own research at a recent committees meeting, which Coun. Justin Doiron took him up on. Doiron agreed it may be best for council to trust the city's data and questioned whether four-way stops were effective at slowing down motorists.

"If people are going to fly through stop signs, why put up stop signs?"

Ultimately, a four-way stop was approved for the intersection, as was a speedbump nearby along Elm Street in its own motion. The two denied motions were for the Norman Drive and Highland Avenue intersection, as well as the Central Street and Maple Avenue intersection.

For the latter, Snow noted that the planned Pope Road extension may affect how traffic will run through that area and thus now might not be the time to be adding a four-way stop.

Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

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