Traffic was a main concern for residents who attended an open house on the Erin Ridge North development Wednesday evening.
Landrex, the developer of the area, hosted the information session on the development’s area structure plan, which is currently being amended to add commercial and residential buildings to the north side of the development.
Chuck McNutt, senior planner with the engineering firm working on the Landrex development, says once the full build-out is completed St. Albert Trail will see an increase in traffic.
“This development will generate at full build-out 1,900 trips in the morning rush hour, 1,900 trips in the evening rush hour and that will spill onto things like St. Albert Trail, which takes 30 or 40,000 vehicles. The collector roads, they handle five to 10,000 vehicles, so all the roads are designed to handle these types of trips.”
He says a traffic assessment is being completed to determine how much traffic Erin Ridge North will actually add to the trail.
The number of trips taken in the morning and evening rush hour times were calculated by taking the average number of trips taken by a household each day.
Once completed, he says there will be 829 homes in Erin Ridge North. Each home completes an estimated average of 10 trips each day split between an estimated average of two vehicles per household.
Peter Mis, who lives next to the development, says he’s skeptical over McNutt’s calculations.
“I thought, well a lot of people are in the household working. So they’re both going out in the morning and they’re both coming home at night. That’s double the number of movements,” he says afterwards. “The intersections are already nightmarish.”
“If they’re adding more traffic, and invariably they are, it’s only going to get worse,” he says.
Another resident who lives north of St. Albert says she’s concerned over how many cars will be added on the trail. She says traffic is already heavy on the trail heading north and south into the city.
McNutt says the traffic assessment will determine how many vehicles use the road, where they’re coming from and when they’re using the road.
Josh Maxwell, water resources engineer with the engineering firm WSP working on the Landrex Development, says there’s a potential for flooding in Erin Ridge North.
The area, which is around 37 hectares, is currently sitting on a man-made wetland dating back almost 100 years. It’s also part of Carrot Creek, which has a tendency to flood.
He says a study on Carrot Creek is currently underway, which will help them determine proper drainage of excess water. The study will look at how much flooding is occurring presently, and how to mitigate the problem.
“At this point I don’t have any great concerns about the basin. There is a flooding concern, I believe that we can resolve it,” he says, adding that a solution will emerge in the upcoming months.
Mis was also concerned about one of three stormwater ponds being developed in Erin Ridge North. The main stormwater pond is around five hectares and has a trail that only goes around one half of the pond.
“Why would you not want the walkway to go all the way around the lake? From a person that walks around lakes with family, to go around and then sort of cut through a street and come back to join the walk way again, it seems inconvenient and unnecessary,” he says.
McNutt says one side of the large pond has been developed for people who want to walk along a trail. Being a stormwater pond, he says when the pond fills, the waterline on the adjacent side will rise up to the residential homes.
McNutt adds that money was a factor.
“There’s other people that will back onto the pond and say, ‘well I will pay more money if I can back onto this pond and have a really really nice view’,” he says.
Council approved Landrex’s area structure plan for the south side of Erin Ridge in 2010. In 2015 Landrex had the second phase of their area structure plan approved, excluding the northern corner containing the wetland.
In order to develop the area, Landrex had to provide the province an opportunity to claim the wetland under the Public Lands Act. McNutt says the province declined to claim the land and classified the area as moderately low for its impact on the environment.
There are six more steps before the area structure plan reaches council for decision. Landrex is expecting construction of the last corner to begin next year, with an estimated completion date of 2022 to 2025.