Revised project includes bike lanes, five-lane intersection
City councillors will have to approve the added expense — which would be funded largely through $700,000 surplus from the water capital program – at their meeting Tuesday.
The added funding would be used to replace the drainage system along a stretch of the road, from First Avenue to Bancroft Drive. Ditches would be replaced by paved shoulders, allowing bike lanes to connect all the way from Bancroft Drive to Donna Drive.
The lack of bike lanes was one of the main complaints that emerged from public consultations on the Second Avenue project. Work to rebuild the roadway from First Avenue to Donna Drive includes plans for sidewalks on both sides of the road, along with a centre turning lane, new curbs and gutters, a new traffic signal, watermains and storm sewers.
Some members of the Minnow Lake Community Action Network (CAN) complained the five-lane intersection between Donna Drive and Scarlett Road was too wide, and lobbied to reduce it to three, and to add bike lanes on either side instead.
But city staff responded that five lanes was needed because of heavy traffic counts along that stretch of Second — as many as 15,000 vehicles a day — as well as the added demands of future residential construction planned in Minnow Lake. In addition, congestion caused by a new traffic light being added along that stretch will clear much faster with the added lanes.
And adding a bike lane that doesn't connect to anything was of limited value, staff argued. However, by moving up planned drainage improvements to this year, they could add paved shoulders all the way from First Avenue down to Bancroft, giving cyclists a continuous lane from Bancroft to Donna, which connects to shopping in the area.
That way, the five-lanes would remain, and the needs of cyclists would also be addressed. However, some members of the Minnow Lake CAN were still opposed, arguing five lanes was too wide for pedestrians and would increase speeding. In its latest newsletter, the CAN suggested the city look at putting in a roundabout at Scarlett, rather than traffic signals.
“The safety features of roundabouts are well documented,” wrote CAN chair John Lindsay. “In the case of the Scarlet intersection, the majority of the traffic flow would be almost non-stop north and south through the roundabout with those going to Scarlet or the cemetery or dog park simply taking the exits either east or west.”
However, at an April 22 public meeting on the project, David Shelsted, the city's director of roads and transportation, said decision will be needed soon, with construction already behind schedule for this year.
“That's partially due to the late spring,” Shelsted said. “But we haven't tendered the contract yet.”