Proponents of a plan to realign some stop signs along Bay Street say the route will become safer for cyclists and pedestrians — but some residents in the area disagree.
During the city council meeting Monday night, homeowners such as Robert Brown said they're concerned the changes will actually increase traffic along Bay, making it more dangerous for people walking or cycling.
"Sometimes what looks good on paper, in some cases, is not," he said.
"This is like putting a bullet in an unloaded gun and then waiting for something to happen."
City administration proposed changing stop signs at several intersections along Bay to provide pauses for north-south traffic so the area would be more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.
Currently, the signs face east-west.
Residents Liane Boyer-McLean and David Spackman said they support the plan.
"This has been endorsed by city engineers, planners, and the traffic sergeant," she Boyer-McLean. "Professionals are hired and used for their expertise … I do think that their opinions hold more weight."
Spackman added, "the concern expressed that the re-orientation of the stop signs is going to make a preferred vehicular corridor … [is] somewhat overstated. I think it's extremely unlikely that drivers that enter a seven-block, discontinuous street with 19 stop signs on it are somehow going to feel that they're going to make time."
The plan calls for stop signs to face north-south along Ray Boulevard, Rupert Street, Winnipeg Avenue, and Summit Avenue, where they cross Bay. Currently the stop signs at those intersections stop traffic along Bay Street.
The plan also calls for all-way stops at the intersections of Bay and Marlborough Streets, Bay and McKibbin Streets, and Bay and Hill Streets.
City administration says the changes will make Bay more attractive as an east-west corridor going to High Street.
In the end, council endorsed the recommendations as presented, after voting down some proposed amendments.
Thunder Bay city council on Monday also approved several new bike lanes, including routes along High, Adelaide and Beverly Streets, among others.