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Slower speed limits? Shut down street? Amherstburg to decide

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Drivers cruising through the core of Amherstburg could soon have to go a little slower and have one less block to travel down.

Town council is set to discuss the community’s first ever transportation master plan Monday evening.

Its manager of engineering, Todd Hewitt, says it will decide the future of getting around town.

“What we’re looking for from administration’s point of view is to guide our decisions moving forward in the next five to 25 years,” he says.

Hewitt, along with hired consultants and a roster of other Amherstburg admin staff, have spent the better part of the past two years drafting this 250 page plan.

In that time, two public surveys were circulated and two public open houses were held.

There are a number of recommendations made in the report headed to council Monday, but according to Hewitt, three stand out.

Those recommendations are:

  • the town make the intersection of Simcoe and Meloche an all way stop,
  • the speed limit within the heart of the town be lowered to 30 km/hr,
  • the block of Murray Street closest to the river (between Ramsay and Dalhousie) be closed to vehicles all together and made a pedestrian only road.

Hewitt says the consultants hired identified that block as one that could be better suited as a “pedestrian mall area.”

“That would be better for businesses and for the property owners as well as provide a pedestrian thoroughfare for residents,” he said.

That’s not an idea everyone loves.

Four delegates signed up to speak at Monday’s council meeting — all opposed to the closure for that block.

Representatives from the masonic temple, for example, stating: “it is the only means of vehicular access to our building.”

Town Councillor Linden Crain said he heard those concerns — but that he also hears the voices speaking in favour of the idea.

“We have to make sure that everyone’s happy and it’s very tough to do that,” Crain said.

“We need to make sure everyone is accommodated in some way.”

Should the transportation master plan pass in full Monday it would not spell an immediate shutdown of the street.

Crain said it would start as a pilot project — and Hewitt said plenty of consultation with emergency services and businesses alike lay ahead in order to ensure adequate access.

Amherstburg council meets at 6 p.m. Monday evening.

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