Traffic concerns are often a topic city councillors are called upon to address. Some of the traffic-related issues St. Albert residents cite include photo radar, St. Albert Trail traffic, turning lanes, Ray Gibbon Drive and traffic light synchronization.
The Gazette asked candidates to share their thoughts on traffic problems in the city. Candidates for council were given a 75-word limit for print while mayoral candidates were given a 150-word limit.
Aside from the candidates listed here, Mark Cassidy, Jacy Eberlein, Jaye Walter, Ray Watkins and Leonard Wilkins are also running for council but did not provide responses.
Q: How would you like to see your top traffic concerns addressed?
A: Cathy Heron, St. Albert Mayoral Candidate
Traffic patterns are a complex integrated system. What happens on the trail affects the traffic in the neighbourhoods. I would like to continue down the path I have already put the city on and use Smart City initiatives to improve the flow of traffic on the trail. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is the solution. The city has connected all the lights along the trail and will employ advanced connected vehicle technologies which will enhance monitoring capability and result in improved operations. This will minimize delay and driver frustration.
I’d like to investigate turning off the protected left-hand turn lane signals between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
I also want lower speed limits of 40 kilometres per hour on residential streets and to re-evaluate speed limits on arterial roads to see if they can be increased.
Improving traffic flow is evolutionary not revolutionary.
A: Cam MacKay, St. Albert Mayoral Candidate
I would like to see better traffic movement on St. Albert Trail to ensure we have less shortcutting on residential roads such as Sunset Blvd. and Erin Ridge Drive. This can be accomplished through better technology, more roads, improved light synchronization timing and an evaluation of speed limits. Regarding photo radar, I would like to see our usage curtailed by 25 per cent. That means 25 per cent less equipment, 25 per cent less revenue generation and reducing the number of locations where it is deployed. A corresponding increase in manned enforcement should take place to ensure we are not only catching speeders but also outstanding warrants, texting and driving, and drinking and driving.
A: Malcolm Parker, St. Albert Mayoral Candidate
Traffic flow and Ray Gibbon expansion could be linked when addressing traffic flow by initiating a comprehensive review of traffic patterns, congestion issues, financial and environmental costs. Resolving traffic congestion may include, but not necessarily, all of these components: major road expansion; off-ramp egress/access roads; and parallel service roads, overpasses, turning lanes, one-way roads, speed limits and synchronization of lights. Completing a thorough review would be preferred over having short-term “band-aid” solutions. The Ray Gibbon extension would involve lobbying the province because the province is a major source of funding.
Photo radar should not be used to generate revenue. If photo radar really encourages drivers to drive safely and within the speed limits, then there should be signs alerting drivers there is photo radar ahead. These signs should be within a designated distance from the photo radar vehicle no matter where it is located. Also, the use of mobile signs is often just as effective in a reduction of speed and initiates personal responsibility to drive at the posted speed limits.
A: Sandyne Beach-McCutcheon, St. Albert Council Candidate
City administration has identified that improvements to traffic light synchronization and traffic movement can be addressed through the implementation of an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Strategy. Identified as a project for funding commencing in 2018, I would look to administration to inform council as to how this can be expedited.
A: Al Bohachyk, St. Albert Council Candidate
The top two traffic concerns identified by residents are: the constipated flow of traffic along the St. Albert Trail, with serious and unnecessary delays, which encourages drivers to use less traveled ‘escape’ routes not suited for high speed/volume traffic, creating dangerous conditions for residents; and an absence of general traffic violation enforcement, with many dangerous driving behaviours witnessed every day. The public expects consistent uniformed officer enforcement to curtail those behaviours.
A: Wes Brodhead, St. Albert Council Candidate
The most pressing traffic flow problem through St. Albert is congestion on Ray Gibbon Drive. To address this, I advocate a two-strategy plan: complete the approaches from 137 Avenue to Anthony Henday; and twin Ray Gibbon from LeClair Way south to Anthony Henday. Once these elements are complete, the volume of traffic accessing or egressing from Heritage Lakes, Grandin Park or Riel Park have travel options, thereby allowing an overall freer flow of traffic.
A: Jan Butler, St. Albert Council Candidate
All are important. Congestion, poor traffic management of the lights, high traffic volume and noise are a big concern regarding St. Albert Trail and Boudreau Road. Traffic congestion for residents in the west part of the city on Ray Gibbon Drive is a big frustration. There are no reasons why the city can’t tackle all these as priorities. Photo radar focus went from safety to another tax for residents and this must stop.
A: Craig Cameron, St. Albert Council Candidate
We all want traffic moving safely, effectively and efficiently. I believe that current traffic concerns are part of a larger conversation about how we move from place to place. In 2016, council approved a long-term Transportation Master Plan, which will improve the many ways we move around and through St. Albert. Council should continue to support the implementation of this plan in alignment with other key initiatives such as the Smart Cities and Social Master Plans, as well as regional collaboration.
A: Gilbert Cantin, St. Albert Council Candidate
St. Albert traffic light synchronization is my priority number one. Technology already exists for many years now. It is just a matter of making it a priority and getting it done by planning and executing the work required.
A: Jacquie Hansen, St. Albert Council Candidate
Continue with the implementation of Smart City technology to reduce traffic congestion and related issues. Smart City technology is a fully integrated system that is designed to address issues such as light synchronization and traffic light response. The City of St. Albert has already been recognized as a Smart City municipal leader.
A: Sheena Hughes, St. Albert Council Candidate
St. Albert Trail light synchronization and Ray Gibbon Drive. The main arteries must start moving efficiently to address congestion and decrease neighbourhood shortcutting. Ray Gibbon Drive must be an immediate priority by front-ending the twinning of Phase 1 with a repayment plan agreement from the province. Traffic lights are better synchronized in every other community I visit. It’s about getting the correct programming and personnel resources to make it happen from a council that expects better.
A: Charlene Jelinski, St. Albert Council Candidate
The light synchronization on St. Albert Trail needs to be corrected. Reviews and strategies by traffic experts warranted implementing this system, yet it remains the biggest reported issue I hear from residents. There is room for improvement by addressing the co-ordination and length time of the current system. The twinning of Ray Gibbon Drive needs to be a priority, as its expansion would alleviate traffic concerns on every roadway within the city.
A: Natalie Joly, St. Albert Council Candidate
My top concern is safety; Continuing with the Safe Journeys to School initiatives and considering standardized residential speeds, like the 40 kilometres per hour residential limit in Edmonton, will improve safety on roadways. Other major issues, including traffic calming, timing of lights and twinning of Ray Gibbon Drive, must be completed in partnership with residents and experts in engineering, urban planning, and road safety; council must consider safety, quality of living, and cost of these plans to choose the best solutions.
A: Shayne Kawalilak, St. Albert Council Candidate
My only traffic concern is safety. Making traffic flow faster on our arteries is a must and can easily be addressed with light synchronization (lack of intelligence in this technological age is absurd). I would also like to see speed limit increases on many larger roads and decreases in all residential areas. I believe we should abolish most school zones and replace them with playground zones which slow traffic over double the daylight hours.
A: Mark Kay, St. Albert Council Candidate
The light synchronization in this city is atrocious. I would work with my fellow councillors in implementing a better plan to coordinate the lights. Photo radar benefits need to be looked at to see if it exceeds the original purpose of school zone safety. What’s its current purpose? Why Ray Gibbon hasn’t been twinned by the province is a mystery I’d like to jump right into.
A: Ken MacKay, St. Albert Council Candidate
As our population increases, greater demand on our roads is creating traffic congestion that poses a challenge to share road space among pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers. Ray Gibbon Drive must remain a priority and efforts to raise its profile with the province and regional stakeholders is essential. Congestion on our other major roadways can be reduced by improving traffic signals, utilizing informed traffic data, enhancing transit services and taking advantage of new technologies.
A: Ufuoma Odebala-Fregene, St. Albert Council Candidate
Ray Gibbon Drive congestion is my top traffic concern at this time. I believe we should continue to lobby the provincial and federal governments for the expansion cost.
A: Nestor Petriw, St. Albert Council Candidate
My experience with the traffic in St. Albert has been quite positive. I spent half of my summer doing volunteer English-language teaching in Ukraine, where the roads, especially rural ones, can be in absolutely ghastly condition. By comparison, driving our roads in St. Albert (even with the construction) is a treat.
Photo radar can be an annoyance for anyone who inadvertently runs afoul of these soulless money-generating machines. I would be in favour of increased RCMP/Traffic Sheriff enforcement to nab speeders, especially in school zones and in residential areas, rather than simply installing ticket-generating photo radar.
A: Hannes Rudolph, St. Albert Council Candidate
The congestion on St. Albert Trail can be solved by synchronizing the traffic lights and by using traffic flow measuring technology and artificial intelligence to time lights. I will push forward the implementation of these tools.
I want to evaluate speed limits on roads such as Dawson and Sturgeon to optimize traffic flow. I’d like to review photo radar use to ensure it’s making roads safer. I will advocate for twinning Ray Gibbon Drive to Villeneuve.
A: Bob Russell, St. Albert Council Candidate
The city needs to appoint a staffer that can manage the traffic light system. Every left turn lane should be an advance left. Traffic lights need to be synchronized to the posted speed on St. Albert Trail southbound in the morning and northbound in the evening.
A: Steve Stone, St. Albert Council Candidate
Unless we have professional planning, the traffic problems will continue escalating. One of my top traffic concerns is congestion on St. Albert Trail and Ray Gibbon Drive.
The latest boondoggle: the planned Park and Ride on the south end will trigger intensified Trail congestion as more cars will travel the Trail to get to and from there. If located on the north side, you should see 1,000 less vehicles southbound on the trail in the mornings and northbound in the evenings.
A: Tash Taylor, St. Albert Council Candidate
The traffic woes we are facing are symptoms of greater underlying issues and will not be remedied solely by smart light synchronization and twinning of Ray Gibbon Drive. A task force should now be struck with urban planners and traffic engineers, among other stakeholders, to undertake a holistic examination with recommendations to address our traffic issues today and fully examine what we need to do to address forthcoming issues with our anticipated growth.
A: Barry Zukewich, St. Albert Council Candidate
A twinned Ray Gibbon Drive would ease a great deal of traffic flow in our city. A big push should be implemented to get the necessary funding from our other partners for at least partial completion.
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