City councillors heard plenty Wednesday from unhappy home owners who are frustrated at the amount of vehicles short cutting and speeding through their neighborhoods. One charge leveled at city staff is they’re simply playing a popular carnival game with their solutions.
“We just feel like the way this is handled is kind of like Whack-a-Mole,” said Patty Coates, a Sherbrooke resident, frustrated at the engineering solution tried one neighborhood over in Prince Charles, between the Yellowhead and 118 avenue near 124 street.
“You solve a problem on one community and then it moves over to the next community.”
Council’s urban planning committee has agreed to keep a key traffic light on 122 Street, as well as concrete barriers at 124 Street off the Yellowhead in Prince Charles neighborhood to stop the flow of traffic. Schools roads on Sherbrooke Avenue and 122 Avenue took the brunt of the extra vehicles.
“It has ended up feeling like it’s created a lot of divisiveness,” Coates said.
More and more communities sounded the alarm about speed as well, looking for 40 to be the norm, not 50 on residential roads.
Troy Pavlek of the Hazeldean Community League blamed technology.
“When people use Google Maps to navigate, if the local community road is 50 km/h Google Maps will direct them to there, because it’s less traffic,” he said. “If the posted speed limit was less people would be directed to navigate through neighborhoods less.”
He told the committee the people he’s dealing with would like to see 30 km/h standard for residential side streets.
Councillors will get a look at the details of a new traffic calming policy which will look at speeding and short cutting in neighbourhoods, and will take into consideration not just what’s there in the immediate community, but will look at the ripple effects in all directions.
That policy is still being worked on said senior planner. Senior planner Peter Ohm said the city is trying to think holistically about traffic, public transit, and even the city’s ultimate goal of making neighborhoods denser.
“If we don’t address traffic calming in some of these communities it is a more difficult case to make about drawing infill to these areas because there’s a quality of life coming back to those areas.”
This new policy won’t be back until a lot of work is done said Coun. Ben Henderson who admits the “devil is in the details.”
He added it’s important to work with the community, listen to the community, but communicate there are trade-offs.
“Those trade off choices should be as much about them, as they are about what we think is best. We just needed a better process for doing that.”