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Former Councillor said he pressed for barriers and lighting on Red Hill

Former Councillor said he pressed for barriers and lighting on Red Hill

The Red Hill inquiry heard testimony from former upper Stoney Creek councillor Doug Conley who served from 2014 to 2018. Conley said he frequently pressed city staff to consider installing median barriers on the Red Hill and to improve the lighting. Conley said he had many conversations with the Head of Engineering, Gary Moore about these subjects. Conley said when he first got elected his goal was to see an extra lane added in both directions but soon learned it was not feasible, not only because of the cost, but also because the QEW and Highway 403 which were at the two ends of the Red Hill/Linc could not handle the extra traffic that would be created by the expansion.

The Inquiry lawyer questioned the former councillor about the 2015 safety report that was conducted by the consultant CIMA. That was the report that was ordered after council was quite definite in asking for consideration of improved lighting, median barriers and any other safety improvements that might be recommended.  A first draft of the report did suggest improving lighting and also recommended friction testing. By the time the matter got back to council the CIMA recommendations were largely watered down from “should” to “could” and the actual CIMA report was not shown to council. Instead, staff received what is referred to as an information report which calls for no further action by council. Conley said he was not pleased to see the barrier issue go away although he acknowledged that the lighting solution would have been expensive.

He also repeated what had been understood by many staff at the time that there was a prohibition on lighting the parkway based on the environmental assessment that was conducted to approve the project. Questioned about friction testing, Conley said he did not believe friction was a serious issue based on his own frequent use of the road. He also told the inquiry that he still felt speed and driver error were the main reason for the number of accidents that had occurred on the highway. Earlier the inquiry heard from retired roads manager Betty Mathews-Malone who said she was shocked to learn there had been 30 collisions recorded on the highway over a particular period of time.

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