Gridlock on trail raises concerns
Traffic timing an issue on St. Albert Trail, city says
Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 06:00 am
If you’ve noticed an increase in wait times at St. Albert Trail intersections, you’re not alone.
Recent changes in traffic flow and planning through the city have altered the timing at intersections, something the city is working to correct, said transportation manager Dean Schick.
“There is an obvious conflict with priority movement and signal times,” Schick said.
After driving-time studies were conducted on Friday, it became apparent to traffic managers that there was an issue with traffic timing both southbound and northbound on the trail.
These delays are due, in part, to recent changes to the flow of traffic in the city. Some of these changes include new rules applying to the left-turn advance signal, which allows drivers to turn left only when they have a priority arrow.
There has been a delay with straight-through traffic on the city’s main road, particularly at times of high traffic – most notably, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Schick explained.
The most troublesome intersections on the St. Albert Trail have been highlighted as: Hebert Road, Giroux Road and Bellerose Drive.
“Cycle length” refers to the amount of time required to allow all the movements required at an intersection. As of yesterday, the cycle length along St. Albert Trail has been increased to 135 seconds from 120 seconds. This comes after adding more time for straight-through traffic on the main road.
The timing changes will improve signal times when considering current road design on St. Albert Trail, Schick said, explaining that the key is intersection efficiency when planning signal times at certain high-volume points in the day.
In the morning, a large majority of traffic moves south toward Edmonton. The trail averages about 5,700 cars travelling southbound and 1,800 travelling northbound. In the afternoon, and at peak rush hour, traffic heading back into the city usually averages about 4,000 cars travelling southbound, and 6,700 travelling northbound.
Schick points out a large factor during afternoon rush hour traffic is that there is traffic flow coming in several directions due to residents using alternative routes to go home, along with having alternate destinations in the evenings.
Schick does not anticipate the change in traffic flow will have an effect on emergency services in the city.
The city has received an influx of calls on this issue and appreciates the feedback, Schick said.
“We are trying to make alternate routes and entrances more inviting and accessible. We will continue to monitor the roads and consider public input,” he said.