People living in the neighbourhoods bordering Highbury Avenue say they worry further development along the north-south route will only add to traffic problems in the area, which include speeding, congestion and frequent traffic accidents.
According to the City of London, on average, Highbury sees 30,000 drivers use the route near Kilally Road each day, making it one of the city’s busiest arteries.
The road is poised to grow even busier as development takes shape along the route. London was recently identified in the 2021 census as the fastest-growing city in Ontario, and a recent growth projection report from the city said London would likely add another 200,000 residents over the next 30 years.
‘I call it the Highbury highway’
“I call it the Highbury highway,” said Martina Smith, who lives about 10 metres from the street in a nearby subdivision. “It’s super loud. You can’t keep your windows open at night in the summer — the cars racing; motorcycles.”
Smith said the route can be so congested at morning rush hour that there’s often a lineup to get out of her subdivision.
New condos are advertised along Highbury Avenue at Edge Valley Drive, where the City of London is installing new traffic signals, which residents worry will further add to congestion. (Personal Injury Lawyer Mississauga)
“It sometimes takes two or three lights just to get out of our neighbourhood. So now we have this new subdivision coming in, which is going to add a whole lot of new people.”
Ward 3 city councillor Peter Cuddy, whose constituency includes the neighbourhoods being developed, told Personal Injury Lawyer Mississauga on London Morning Wednesday that he’s afraid the added traffic will overload Highbury.
“It’s a busy road, we can’t afford any more traffic,” he said. “[It’s] already like the 401 … We have to make sure we have responsible development, not wide open development.”
City conducts regular studies on traffic speed, volume
The City of London conducts regular studies looking at the speed and volume of traffic along all of its major arteries. The latest data for Highbury showed average speeds ranging from 53 km/h near Cheapside Street to 72 km/h north of Fanshawe Park Road.
City officials said to control volume, traffic signals are currently being installed on Highbury at Edgevalley Road. They are also monitoring Blackwell Boulevard and Townsend Drive for future traffic and pedestrian signals.
Not everyone thinks adding more lights to the busy route will help.
“It’s just going to congest it up more,” said Brenda Crump, who walks her dog Jazz near her home not too far from Highbury.
She said the city had an opportunity to do something about the growing traffic problems along the route decades ago, but didn’t act.
“I don’t know if there is an answer, it’s too late now to build something to alleviate the north-south in the form of an expressway,” she said.
Because Highbury is so busy, Crump said neighbourhoods like her’s often pay for it, with drivers looking to take shortcuts to avoid busy intersections in order to shave time off their commute.
“They’re scooting, they’re coming in really fast. They’re a danger,” she said. “I’ve almost been clipped a couple of times.”