New signage to explain Parkway (con't)
“Plans are underway to install additional project signs in the areas leading up to the Parkway, both on Highway 401 and on Huron Church Road,” Natarelli said.
“These signs will be installed in the coming weeks.”
The ministry has been criticized for not erecting more explanatory signage other than small signs with the Parkway logo making reference to “More Green Space.”
City councillors have complained about this, noting the lack of information reflects badly on the city’s image.
Even prior to construction the swath of land during the demolition stage gave the strip an empty eerie feeling.
“You get people coming through saying, ‘What the hell is going on here, I heard the auto industry is in trouble’...” councillor Percy Hatfield said last June.
Now the mayor is openly critical.
At the last city council meeting he expressed his ire with the ministry for not erecting signs explaining the $1.4 billion Windsor-Essex Parkway to tourists and motorists passing through the city.
“We weren’t too happy with the type of signage they put up announcing the roadway,” he said.
“It really doesn’t describe the project or the nature of the project. So somebody coming in from Ohio, Toronto or Montreal along the 401 has little information to really understand the nature of the project.”
Normally, Francis said, “When you travel through communities and there’s a major project or construction project it identifies the project. In this case it would say ‘New Highway Being Built, New Border Being Built, 12,000 jobs, Expected to Open...”
Francis said the same foot-dragging occurred at the Windsor Detroit Tunnel entrance.
The city put up its own signs (above left) because the ministry wouldn’t describe the tunnel plaza redevelopment which is soon to take place.
“We gave them enough opportunity to do something about it. They chose not to do something about it so we did it,” Francis said.
The mayor said he has not received an adequate explanation from the province for the small signs that dot the Parkway route, “except that they think the sign that they have is actually going to do the job which I don’t think they do.”
Francis said the city would put up signs at its own expense if it came to that, noting doing nothing is more costly than the price "of doing something.”
Natarelli agreed it’s “important for travellers to understand changes” along the 11 km route.
“That’s why portable variable messages signs and other advance signage are in place in areas leading up to the construction corridor and within the construction corridor itself,” he said.
“These signs provide motorists with essential information about the work ahead and help prepare motorists to travel safely through the construction zone.”
He said to date 12 information signs have been placed along the corridor.
And the ministry is working with local tourism officials to provide information at the Huron Church travel centre to inform visitors of the Parkway work (see LOCAL TOURIST).