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Traffic lights need tweaking


  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am

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Traffic flow is the lifeblood of a city. Moving efficiently and safely around the urban environment is paramount. Getting to destinations such as the hospitals, schools, the downtown core and recreation facilities, as quickly as possible with minimum aggravation, is the goal of any city traffic planner.

Itís a very good idea that the City of St. Albert has begun discussing the traffic light situation on St. Albert Trail, because the traffic lights are in desperate need of tweaking. The left-hand turn arrows, in particular, need their insanity level reduced.

Major intersections like Hebert and St. Albert Trail and Bellerose and St. Albert Trail have green turn arrows that stay lit only for a few seconds, then turn yellow, apparently warning traffic to stop turning. But itís obvious to anyone who makes those turns onto the trail that traffic doesnít stop turning. It keeps on going, because the density is heavy and long line-ups of vehicles, particularly in the morning and evening rush hours, have been waiting for long periods of time and refuse to wait any longer. So they drive through the turn after the lights have already ceased blinking.

Another dangerous left-hand turn signal exists at the intersection of Boudreau and Churchill. Motorists heading east on Boudreau, and then turning left onto Churchill better time it just right. That left-hand signal lasts for about three seconds. Again, motorists become impatient and will run through the intersection when they no longer have the turning signal.

Short left-hand turning signals are complemented with excruciatingly long red lights in the city. Anyone whoís pulled out of the Servus Credit Union Place parking lot knows what awaits them. A right-hand turn onto Corriveau Ave. and motorists are greeted with a long, long red light (if youíre lucky enough to zoom through a green light, make sure you buy a lottery ticket). The traffic on Campbell obviously has the priority as their light is green for long periods of time. However, there is a considerable amount of traffic spilling out of Servus Place that needs to be considered.

The same situation exists a few blocks down the road as the route changes names to Poirier which eventually comes to a halt at Winston Churchill, another place where, if a motorist is planning a left-hand turn, he or she should have a good book handy because he or she will be there for a while sitting at a red light.

Hopefully the City of St. Albert is including the left-hand turn timing in its recent plan to work on lights along St. Albert Trail. Just hoping that motorists wonít make hasty or even deadly left-hand turns isnít good enough.


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