At the intersection of Sagewood and Cosmic drives, Steve Handler wants to pull out all the stops.
The 20-year resident takes issue with a recently passed bylaw that approved the installation of all-way stop signs where Sagewood Drive intersects with Cosmic Drive and Sonata Crescent.
The issue first arose when resident Nicholas Nitsias brought a petition to former Ward 25 councillor Cliff Jenkins asking the city to address what he saw as traffic speeding along Sagewood Drive.
North York Community Council approved the bylaw in January, despite a city staff report that said the road conditions on Sagewood did not warrant any traffic-calming measures.
Although Handler initially signed the petition, he said he changed his mind when he read the city’s staff report.
“The evidence shows there are better solutions,” he said. “And yet, city council went against that.”
The city measured vehicle and pedestrian volume as well as collision history and found there have been no collisions on Sagewood Drive in the past three years. The report recommended for council to deny the request for stop signs and a reduced speed limit.
Undeterred by staff recommendations, current Ward 25 Councillor Jaye Robinson went forward with the motion requesting the traffic-calming measures, because she said she feels the residents clearly support the stop signs. She also requested to reduce the speed limit to 40 kilometres an hour.
“For many years the residents have been lobbying for stop signs on Sagewood,” she said. “The street is full of families. The community is deeply concerned about this traffic issue.”
On Sagewood Drive 26 out of the 30 residents signed the petition requesting some kind of traffic-calming measure. Robinson contends that city staff generally does not recommend the implementation of stop signs because of financial implications.
“It’s very rare that city staff recommends stop signs,” she said. “There’s a time issue and a cost associated with putting stop signs in … My role as the city councillor is to advocate on behalf of the residents.”
But some residents, like Dagmar Teubner, who lives on nearby Banbury Road, said they were not consulted despite their perception that they will be affected.
Teubner said she is concerned the addition of stop signs on Sagewood Drive will only divert traffic to Banbury Road. She also said the stop signs would be a waste in light of the staff report that said they were unnecessary.
“Last time I checked the City of Toronto doesn’t have a lot of spare funds,” she said. “So why bother wasting money?”
Apart from the staff report, residents such as Handler are also concerned by curb cuts, which would see some of the city-owned grass in front of their property removed in order to comply with provincial accessibility regulations.
“Even though it’s on the sidewalk and city property, the perception is that it’s sort of part of your property,” Handler said. “It does affect residents.”
Robinson says this is the real reason Handler is opposed to the stop signs.
“This individual originally supported the motion, and was even one of the champions for it,” she said. “He has changed his mind because he feels it’s impacting his property.”
As a result, resident Via Bitidis, who lives on Sagewood Drive near Sonata Crescent, is now distributing a new petition that asks the city to look at alternative traffic-calming measures such as speed humps.
Robinson said she does not anticipate Handler and Bitidis will be able to get enough signatures for her to take the bylaw back to council, but would consider it if they do.
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