Shelsted: Stormwater runoff would increase less than 5%
The meeting was set up by the Minnow Lake Community Action Network (CAN) in an attempt to create a dialogue between the city and residents in the area in the wake of the project's delay.
The ministry is currently reviewing the complaints, and Shelsted said it's possible they could respond by the end of September.
But until they do, the project is delayed, meaning it likely won't get fully underway this year, as the cold weather is rapidly approaching.
Klein, Lindsay and others living in the area say the project — which would widen Second Avenue to five lanes — would result in increased air pollution and storm water runoff.
They also support installing a roundabout at the intersection of Scarlet Drive and Second Avenue instead of traffic signals.
During the meeting, Shelsted gave a short presentation addressing some of the citizens' concerns, and then answered questions for more than an hour.
He pointed out that the city held four open houses and one stakeholder meeting on Second Avenue from January 2012 to April 2014, while the city is only actually required to hold two public consultations.
The city also made several revisions to the project after consultations, including cycle tracks north of Kenwood Street, paved shoulders being extended to First Avenue, and addressing drainage issues at First Avenue.
Shelsted said that if Second Avenue isn't widened, traffic congestion in the area will increase significantly in the next 15 years.
With regards to the storm water runoff issue, Shelsted said the paved area will increase from 7,500 to 19,500 square metres, yet the increase in storm water runoff is less than five per cent.
He said the city is committed to completing a watershed study for Ramsey Lake, which will prioritize locations in which storm water will be treated.
With regards to the roundabout some citizens want, Shelsted said this would cost $500,000 more than traffic signals, and besides, it would encroach on the nearby cemetery and strip mall, and be difficult for pedestrians to cross.
Lionel Rudd — a well-known local proponent of roundabouts — said he questioned Shelsted's numbers regarding the roundabout.
He said a single-lane roundabout would be sufficient for Second Avenue, as opposed to the two-land roundabout city staff say would be necessary.
“The roundabout in that particular intersection does not have to take up any more volume than what you've proposed with the five lanes,” Rudd said.
Rudd also said roundabouts are far safer, as they reduce the chances of serious collisions.
Shelsted said he agreed with Rudd about the safety factor of roundabouts, adding that the city is actually planning to build some with the Maley Drive extension.
But he said he had to “politely disagree” with the size of roundabout needed. “We think a two-lane roundabout is needed,” Shelsted said.
One man attending the meeting voiced his frustration about the project's delay.
“You're going to alleviate a bottleneck, and you've got lunatics going 'I think I can stop something because I found a bit of a loophole here?'” he said.
His comments didn't go over well with a woman in the crowd.
“You should keep up with the news, because your level of understanding and insight with regards to the overall perspective, and with regards to the forest and the trees is really low,” said.
Shelsted said he was happy to be able to share information with citizens about the Second Avenue project. “Any time we get to consult with the public it's pretty good,” he said.
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