Traffic bureaucrats

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Signs Confusing? How about: Another waster of public funds?

The new signs – stay back 30 m – tell a much bigger story than simple advice to leave room between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you.

The signs indicate a city traffic planning/management section that is completely out of control. Not even the mayor knew what the signs meant, suggesting this initiative was spawned, not by council, but traffic bureaucrats. Bureaucrats it seems, that do not actually ever drive on the roads they are in charge of.

For they would see that the increase in rear-end collisions is not just because people are following others too closely – although the erosion of traffic courtesy is tragic – but because the constipation of traffic along the St. Albert Trail has created driver fatigue and stress. Traffic flow has been reduced to a trickle of what is possible. Independent turn control initiatives at many of the major intersections has slowed traffic flow so significantly, people must now push the envelope in an effort to get through an intersection in less than two or three light cycles.

Logically, leaving 30 metres between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you would result in a couple of possibilities. It’s probable that only one or two vehicles would get through a green turn light, but even more likely, the space would be filled by three others, simply delaying your arrival time even further. It’s fairy-tale advice … won’t happen. And, this motherly advice is not based on any existing traffic law.

All around this city, motorists are putting others at great risk, disobeying turn arrows, running red lights and entering the roadway without stopping or in consideration of others directly in their intended path. It is possible to observe a traffic control device infraction at almost every light controlled intersection on every light cycle.

Statistics indicating an increase in following too close is an easy excuse to deflect poor traffic planning. Drive around to our other small city neighbours and see if they too share this ridiculous notion of protecting everyone from themselves by gridlock.

Collisions as a result of following too closely are often an indicator of driving too fast. It is also a common consequence for not paying attention – distracted driving. With traffic slowed to a crawl along the SAT, surely speeding is not the reason. And how would we know if it is distracted driving; no one ever deals with that roadway scourge.

My guess is that this phenomenon is a combination of very poor traffic planning, no enforcement, and a traffic planning section that has been frightened by ‘risk management’ legal advice. Regardless, it makes driving around St. Albert an increasingly frustrating and dangerous activity. Installing a few advisory signs ignores the real solutions, and is a waste of our money.

Al Bohachyk, St. Albert

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