Published on September 03, 2013
Coun. Martin Ring speaks during Tuesday’s executive committee meeting, during which he acknowledged that he will receive many phone calls about a traffic calming effort the city might test on Olive Diefenbaker Drive.
Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Published on September 03, 2013
The traffic calming device council is considering for five locations along Olive Diefenbaker Drive is seen in a screenshot of a city administration report.
City of Prince Albert photo
Long talked-about traffic calming practices are close to implementation, with Olive Diefenbaker Drive slated as the first guinea pig.
City administration has selected five spots along the street, between Bradbury Drive and Muzzy Drive, to test out a traffic calming method unique to Prince Albert.
The method would see small sections of the road narrowed, with the curb on both sides of the road brought inward, allowing just enough room for traffic to pass through at its normal speed.
Inside of this curb bulge would be applicable traffic signs, such as for a crosswalk or for a school zone.
“You’ve literally brought the sign that’s normally just inside the curb, you moved the sign into the road,” city manager Robert Cotterill explained during Tuesday’s executive committee meeting.
“The ones that I’ve seen in Regina, I thought were very effective. Once you’re through, past the sign, the street is still wide, but at least it reminds you, ‘ yes, I’m in an area that I have to consider kids.’”
Olive Diefenbaker Drive was chosen as the city’s curb bulge guinea pig because of its heavy traffic flow and the fact that there are two schools off of it.
“This location has won the lottery,” Coun. Ted Zurakowski said during Tuesday’s meeting, noting that there are a number of other locations in the city that could use the traffic calming devices just as much.
“We’re going to test it, and we’ll see what kind of feedback we get,” answered Coun. Martin Ring, whose ward includes the proposed traffic calming test locations.
“I’m probably going to receive several phone calls about this particular area that so-called has ‘won the lottery.’”
Keeping an eye on his neighbourhood earlier in the day -- the first day of school after summer break -- Ring said that he was amazed at traffic volume around the schools on Olive Diefenbaker Drive.
“Nobody walks to school anymore,” he said. “Everybody drives. It’s unbelievable the traffic up in that neighbourhood.”
The ones that I’ve seen in Regina, I thought were very effective. Once you’re through, past the sign, the street is still wide, but at least it reminds you, ‘ yes, I’m in an area that I have to consider kids.’ Robert Cotterill, city manager
Although Ring said that he recognizes that there will likely be some unhappy phone calls in his near future, the curb bulge option is worth investigating.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the city’s elected officials voted in favour of trying out the curb bulge option along Olive Diefenbaker Drive.
With Tuesday’s meeting of the executive committee, it will take a reiteration of this week’s vote during Monday’s city council meeting to determine whether the city proceeds with this option.
If council decides to go with the traffic calming devices along Olive Diefenbaker Drive, a temporary version will be installed by city crews in the form of rubberized bumper curbs at a cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
After a trial period, the city’s elected officials will decide whether to spend $25,000 on the installation of permanent concrete curb bulges.
“This is just a start,” Mayor Greg Dionne said during Tuesday’s meeting, adding that the police commission will present council with more traffic calming suggestions he hopes the city put in place in school zones later this year.
Additional traffic calming options are necessary, Coun. Lee Atkinson said, noting that the narrowing of streets with curb bulges won’t work in front of Ècole Valois, since 10th Street East is already quite narrow.
Although the curb bulges won’t fix any of Atkinson’s concerns, it’s a step in the right direction in getting across a basic message to city drivers, Ring said.
“It still comes down to drivers in our city need to take the time to abide by the speed limits that are in place.”