Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Haist Reconstruction

You will see that in my last column I wrote about the widening of Haist Street to accommodate bike widths, the addition of a sidewalk, and about the feedback by area residents.

Now, I thought you would want to know about some of the major benefits of the overall reconstruction of Haist Street. (Note: this column was written before Monday, July 20 Council meeting where we received two public presentations, a petition, and a staff report about Haist Street.)

Reduce Speeds:
A number of AK Wigg families and other area residents have expressed concern about people driving at excessive speeds along Haist Street. Some speeders even pass other drivers who were travelling the speed limit!

As a first step to make the street safer, a previous Council established a “Community Safety Zone” along most of Haist; for drivers caught speeding, the fines are doubled.

But, since that type of zone requires constant enforcement, vehicles have not slowed down. Thus, many concerned citizens requested that Council install “traffic calming measures” like speed bumps, roundabouts, stop signs, or on-street parking. At the first Public Open House in October 2008, the majority of respondents preferred raised crosswalks; the final draft of the Haist Street Plan includes four raised crosswalks – near the Arena, Berkwood, and Pancake Lane, and at A.K. Wigg School (which will also include an overhead, pedestrian traffic-light).

Better Water Quality:
You might recall that nearly 40 years ago Haist Street delineated the former “Village of Fonthill” from “Pelham Township.” That boundary also denoted different water systems. Fonthill water came from the (now abandoned) wells in Marlene Stewart-Strait Park. Pelham Township users relied on water from the Welland water treatment plant. For about a decade now, all of Pelham’s municipal water has come from the Regional water treatment plant in Welland. Yet, those aging, cast-iron watermains from the two, old water systems still deliver water to residents. Under the plan, these will be replaced with one, larger watermain.

New Storm Water System:
You might have noticed also the wide (and in some cases deep) ditches line Haist. These ditches are to collect all storm water and snow melt. However, downpours like we have had this spring and summer cause these ditches to washout and erode. The plan will eliminate washouts on the roads and help protect the environment by replacing the wide ditches with an underground storm water system.

These benefits formed an integral part of the Town’s successful application for Federal and Provincial funding.