Community group takes Lucan traffic light fight to Queen's Park

A community group in Lucan is ratcheting up its fight for a new traffic light in town, and will get a warm reception at town council and Queen's Park.

A community group in Lucan is ratcheting up its fight for a new traffic light in town, and will get a warm reception at town council and Queen’s Park.

The delegation will make a formal pitch to the municipal government Monday for the new light and present a petition supporting it.

Local politicians have also gone to bat for the new light, taking the issue to the Ministry of Transportation in recent months.

But the ministry is where the community has hit a road block.

“A delegation will present to us, citizens that organized protests,” on the issue, said Cathy Burghardt-Jesson, Lucan Biddulph mayor.

Lucan is a growing community. There is all kinds of development. It should not take seven years to get a traffic light.

Monte McNaughton, MPP Lambton-Kent-Mddlesex

That meeting will also demand a meeting with ministry officials to push the matter ahead, she added.

“It is really a public statement about how residents feel. I think any time you can try to keep the conversation going, that is important.”

The town council will ask for a meeting with ministry officials and Monte McNaughton, MPP Lambton-Kent-Mddlesex, who is also minister of infrastructure, to press the issue – and McNaughton said he will welcome the call.

“When I was first elected in 2011, one of the first calls I took was on this. We have been working on this since,” said McNaughton.

Following his recent re-election, he also met with Burghardt-Jesson on this issue.

“It is an important project for Lucan, it is in the community’s best interests,” said McNaughton.

Lucan wants to spend $200,000 for the new light at the corner of Highway 4 and Saintsbury Line. But the MTO insists it is a $1.2 million job as the roads have to be rebuilt leading to the intersection. The province also wants the town to split the cost.

The town wants to install the light using its own staff and resources, drastically cutting costs. Instead, the provincial government wants its contractors and consultants used because the light would control traffic on Highway 4.

“I come from a municipal council background in Newbury nine years. Local municipalities can deliver service at a better cost for taxpayers,” said McNaughton.

“This is an example of where we can use common sense to do what is in the best interests of taxpayers.”

Although he supports the town’s position in principle, he can not pledge money for the project as the government is reviewing all spending, he added.

“Lucan is a growing community. There is all kinds of development. It should not take seven years to get a traffic light.”

As part of the project, the province wants to widen roads and add sidewalks. The town would wait to do that work over several years and use third-party contractors.

“This is a government that wants to look for efficiencies and savings. It is a golden opportunity,” said Burghardt-Jesson.

The town needs the light as over the past six years, road traffic in the town has increased 20 per cent and now about 10,000 vehicles a day drive along Highway 4. On Saintsbury, which has daily traffic of about 3,000, drivers find it difficult to turn onto the highway for their commute to London, as traffic is heavy for the morning drive.

The MTO has said the intersection needs more work than the town realizes and that work has to comply with provincial standards.

“The new traffic signals must be designed to meet current highway engineering standards, as well as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. That means the approaches to the intersection must be widened to accommodate left turn lanes and pedestrian facilities must be installed along with the signals,” read a statement from the MTO.
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