Meeting July 9, councillors were presented with a staff recommendation to remove existing traffic islands at the intersection, to be replaced with a two-way centre turn lane. That recommendation was based on current traffic volume, which totals 19,000 vehicles a day.
But Ward 11 Coun. Terry Kett said the recommendation failed to take into account all the new subdivisions being planned for Minnow Lake, the largest of which is the Silver Hills development.
The 763-unit subdivision would be built in phases over five to 15 years, depending on demand and how quickly the approvals process goes. It would eventually include 171 homes, 112 townhouses and 480 apartments. The company is planning on building a major new road, Silver Hills Drive, which would connect to The Kingsway on one end, and the corner of Bancroft Drive and Bellevue Avenue on the other.
“There are 10 subdivisions that are going to be built in that area – 10,” Kett said at the July 9 meeting of the operations committee. “The traffic problems are so bad on Bancroft (Drive), that every time we get an application from a developer to do something in the area, people rise up in anger. And what they’re angry about isn’t the development, it’s the road.”
The staff report isn’t recognizing that people are avoiding accessing The Kingsway from Third Avenue because of problems there. Instead, they’re using Bancroft, aggravating existing problems, Kett said.
“We need to recognize there’s a problem there,” he said. “There’s a major subdivision going in 500 feet from that road. We need to get (traffic) lights up at that intersection to make life better for people in the Minnow Lake area.”
While there hasn’t been an overwhelming number of collisions at that intersection – 13 in three years – Kett said the problem will get worse as the area is built up. So now is the time to put the lights in. It makes no sense to take out the existing traffic islands, to only have to go back in a few years and install lights. Installing the lights will cost about $150,000.
“In the end, it’s a better deal, cost-wise, for the taxpayer.”
Ward 10 Coun. Frances Caldarelli agreed, saying she saw a close call recently at the intersection while driving on The Kingsway.
“I saw a guy just about get creamed coming out of there,” Caldarelli said. “It’s time to put the lights in.”
Staff said that growth projections weren’t included in their report. For that reason, Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau said he would support Kett’s call for traffic lights. While he hates going against expert advice they get from staff, Barbeau said the new subdivisions will increase traffic in the area.
“At some point, it’s going to warrant a traffic signal,” he said, adding they may as well do it now.
Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann also supported the move, describing herself as “pro stop sign and traffic light” whenever they will increase safety.
Posted by Arron Pickard