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Residents of Lower Elswick Road petition city to address traffic volume and speeding on their street

Verbon Hewlin addressed Corner Brook city council about concerns he and fellow residents of Lower Elswick Road have about traffic volume and safety on their street Monday.
Verbon Hewlin addressed Corner Brook city council about concerns he and fellow residents of Lower Elswick Road have about traffic volume and safety on their street Monday. - Gary Kean

Two summers ago, Verbon Hewlin did his own, ad hoc traffic survey of traffic volumes on Lower Elswick Road.

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According to his numbers, there were an average of 25 vehicles travelling through the street every 15 minutes during the times he was observing.

He figures if 25 to 30 per cent of them were speeding, then it’s likely there could be as many as 24 to 32 vehicles going too fast through the neighbourhood during these times.

This is one of the reasons why Hewlin and other residents of lower section of Elswick Road want the City of Corner Brook to address the traffic volume and safety issues the residents have concerns about.

On Monday, those residents were given an opportunity to address a public meeting of city council about the issue. Hewlin was among the half dozen or so who attended the meeting.

“That’s too many,” Hewlin said of the roughly two dozen or more speeders he estimated at peak times.

“If I’m wrong by half, then 12 to 16 are still travelling up there in that one-hour period and, again, that’s still too many.”

Hewlin, who has lived in the area for about 40 years, and the other residents are worried about how many drivers tend to use Lower Elswick Road to avoid the traffic lights at the intersection of West Valley Road and O’Connell Drive. They say many drivers turn into Elswick Road from West Valley Road and then speed along to get to the Elswick Road intersection with O’Connell Drive.

That intersection is right outside Hewlin’s house. He said he has seen his fair share of accidents at the intersection involving people who are too anxious to get off Elswick Road and onto O’Connell Drive.

Donna Butt, who has lived on Lower Elswick Road for 22 years, also addressed council Monday. She, too, has seen accidents, speeding and even cases of road rage by people using the road as a right-turning lane onto O’Connell Drive.

“It really isn’t acceptable,” she told council. “There are just so many cars.”

Butt said residents want something done, whether it involves making Elswick Road a dead-end street, or a one-way street or having speed bumps installed.

City council did not discuss the petition or the residents’ concerns during the public meeting, although Mayor Jim Parsons said city staff will investigate the situation to see what the options there are for the area.

After the meeting, Parsons said he understands the concerns of the residents as it is a busy part of town. He said council will leave it to the traffic experts and national regulations to determine if anything can or should be done.

“Instead of going directly to a specific solution, we need to look at what the concern is and try to alleviate that through whatever method we need to,” he said.

In 2015, the city installed an electronic speed indicator on the upper section of Elswick Road after residents of that neighbourhood complained of speeding traffic using that section to also avoid the traffic lights en route to west Valley Road.

The city temporarily installed speed bumps on Upper Elswick Road as a traffic calming measure in 2016, but they are no longer in use.

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