Mixed reactions to traffic calming in Grandin

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Residents of the Grandin community are torn over new traffic calming measures put in their neighbourhood.

On Wed Oct. 25 the city installed temporary curb extensions at the Y-intersection at Grenfell Avenue and Grosvenor Boulevard as part of a pilot project in the area. Dean Schick, transportation manager at the City of St. Albert, said the curb extensions are meant primarily to increase pedestrian safety at the intersection, along with helping control speed and control the intersection.

The reaction from the residents have been mixed. Some residents did not believe changes needed to be made at the intersection while others have felt the area has been a problem for a long time.

The curb extensions come years after the residents who live at the intersection started asking for some traffic calming measures to be installed in the area. Barb and Phil Guile have lived in front of the intersection for over 30 years and said over the years pedestrian safety and speed have become a problem. In 2015 the group of residents who live at the intersection started lobbying the city for traffic calming measures. Barb Guile said their primary concern was the safety of all the young children who attend school in the area.

Schick reports that there have been four collisions in the intersection since 2012. One incident in 2015 involved a cyclist and one in 2016 involved a vehicle leaving the roadway. Despite this residents are still concerned with pedestrian safety and high speeds.

Schick said that the residents see how drivers behave in the area and they are able to see near-miss incidents and speeders.

Phil Guile said that the curb extensions still are not addressing the issues of excess speeding up the street and the poor visibility for the pedestrian crossing.

Many residents say that speeding down the roads that connect with the intersection have been a problem and they have seen accidents down the block from the intersection. Schick said that the temporary curb extensions installed are intended to deal with the pedestrian and traffic safety issues at the intersection and not down the road.

John Harmon, who also lives at the intersection, is one of many people in the area who would rather see a three-way stop installed. He said it is cheaper and more simple than installing the curb extensions. June Kerrison said that everybody she has spoken with in the neighbourhood wants to see a three-way stop installed.

“We had all our neighbours come to the house and everybody just wanted a three-way stop,” Kerrison said.

Schick said that based on the Transportation Association of Canada Industry standards the intersection does not meet any of the five criteria required to install stop signs. The intersection would need to have traffic volume fairly equal on both of the roadways along with a greater delay at the intersection with the current stop sign. It would also need to see collisions that could be rectified by a multi way stop.

Schick said that the intersection doesn’t qualify at this time, but it does not mean the three-way stop option is off the table. Schick noted that if a three-way stop is installed when it is not needed it may actually increase the driving risk in the area.

Some residents raised concerned about the difficulty of snow plows and city buses getting through the intersection since it has been narrowed but Schick said that the intersection was built with these vehicles in mind and they will have no problem getting through.

Phil Guile doesn’t believe that the curb extensions have solved all the problems but they believe that the temporary curb extensions have raised awareness about speeding issues in the area. Phil said that he thinks this awareness may help slow drivers down.

“The biggest thing about having these temporary calming measures it that it has raised awareness in the wider community that there is speeding through this intersection,” Guile said.

Although many residents are skeptical of the changes, most said they won’t make up their mind until the pilot project ends in the spring.

Schick said that the pilot project will be running until the spring and there will be opportunities for residents to give feedback on the temporary curb extensions.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.