Controlling fall colours traffic
By Chad Ingram
Published July 27, 2017
Algonquin Highlands township will request that the Ministry of Transportation install “no parking” and ”no stopping” signs along Highway 35 near the Dorset tower in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and associated safety concerns at the site during the busy fall colours season.
Some 10,000 vehicles travel to the attraction each fall for visitors to take in the vibrant foliage. However, the parking lot at the tower only accommodates 75 cars.
This means vehicles are often parked along the sides of the highway.
“There are too many people wandering around the highway,” said Mayor Carol Moffatt. “It’s a highway.”
Moffatt recently attended a chamber of commerce meeting in Muskoka regarding the problems associated with heavy fall traffic and said another meeting involving stakeholders such as Algonquin Park and Muskoka Tourism will take place before the fall.
No parking signage will allow the OPP to enforce no parking regulations along the stretch of highway.
“I have a request in with the OPP for paid duty police officers,” said township parks, rec and trails manager Chris Card.
However, Moffatt noted that paid duty requires officers to sign up voluntarily, and that it hasn’t always been successful in the past.
“There isn’t the interest in signing up for paid duty,” she said.
There is some private property near the tower available for the township to rent for parking. As for long-term solutions, Card suggested widening the road to the tower, to allow vehicles to park along it.