Small town habits die the hardest

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From the makers of one-way street violations in Winchester, comes a similar problem in South Mountain. Since time immemorial, local motorists have used a paved area at the north end of Church Street to make right turns onto Maple Street. And why wouldn’t they? There is no distinction between the municipal roadway, and the section of pavement that resembles a turning lane, yet lacks the proper signage and markings to be used as one, or possibly even belongs to St. Daniel the Martyr Catholic Church.

Like several of the lesser used intersections in North Dundas, the intersection at Maple Street and Church street didn’t even have a stop sign for years. Since these streets are unlikely to be travelled by anyone besides locals, the lack of signage didn’t seem to cause issues.

When a stop sign was installed early last year, it became a running inside joke for South Mountain locals, because to those who were used to using the extra pavement as a yield-style turning lane, the stop sign appeared to be in the middle of the road. When the stop sign was knocked down by a motorist in May of last year, the joke continued, with many social media users making comments such as “I was wondering when that would happen” and “You mean the one they put in the middle of the road?” Others commented that the sign lasted longer than they thought it would. The sign was quickly put back up with a traffic cone around the base as an extra visual aid.

The new barrier preventing drivers from “cutting corners”, so to speak, at the intersection of Church Street and Maple Street in South Mountain.

When the roads are snow covered in the winter, the stop sign does not look out of place at all. It sits exactly where one would expect a stop sign to be at the north end of Church Street, since the extra patch of pavement is not visible. Yet old habits die hard, and small town habits die the hardest. Even with snow cover, the “ad hoc turning lane” was still being used liberally, and it was almost certainly no coincidence that this winter, snowplows were piling their loads in such a way to block that section from being passable by car.

Now, without snow, the Township has been more direct in its measures. A barrier has been installed to redirect cars straight to the stop sign before completing their right turn. It’s a big yellow eyesore, no doubt, but also a necessary measure to break a pesky – and tempting – old habit.

 

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