Each day that I drive back into St. Albert along the St. Albert Trail during the evening rush hour, I am puzzled by the apparent lack of common sense that has been applied to the management of traffic lights from the Anthony Henday northbound.
It must be that the folks who set the traffic light sequences along that stretch never actually drive it, for they would certainly see that other options should be considered. It is inconceivable that the priority for traffic movement is the half dozen cars waiting to enter the trail from the Superstore and Tudor Glen areas, while three packed lanes of northbound traffic must sit through five, six or seven sets of lights to advance from 156 Street to just past Hebert Road. The half dozen cars entering from each side never wait more than a single light sequence.
Access into St. Albert is woeful at best, primarily because of limited arterial roads. It’s getting better over the years, but I suggest there are ways to manage traffic that would reduce wear and tear, improve environmental considerations and treat local and regional residents with a bit of respect for their time and vehicle maintenance costs.
Heading south in the morning rush hour doesn’t seem to face the same constrictions. The light sequences seem to accommodate the flow quite nicely. It can be done.
How about some problem-solving? Why not set the lights at Superstore to interrupt the St. Albert Trail only every second time, compared to the current sequence? You would get a better flow northbound. It would require co-ordinating with the lights at Hebert to free up the traffic to continue north. That means co-ordinating two sets of lights. Since the ‘provincial lights’ at the Henday are not as easily accessed, use them as the starting point.
If the commercial interests along both sides of the trail have some priority in traffic flow, maybe it’s time to revisit those agreements or expectations. Surely, customers on both sides could be informed of restricted access hours by simple signage and it doesn’t have to be changed for the whole day, just a couple of hours. The greater good should be the priority.
There are other light sequences that seem to be completely counter-intuitive. The left advance green on the trail at McKenney feeds up the hill to an immediate red at Muir, stopping westbound traffic on an uphill slope. The only other close light that could impact Muir is at Dawson, with nothing close to that set of lights. Again, it shouldn’t be too hard to sequence two or three sets of lights to keep traffic moving and the two or three cars sitting perpendicular to the heavy traffic flow will just have to wait a minute or two.
There may be many more options to improve traffic flow in different parts of St. Albert, but the point is that someone needs to look at traffic flow objectively. I’m looking forward to more dialogue about this.
Al Bohachyk, St. Albert