Even though Prince Albert is considered a relatively small city, certain intersections experience traffic congestion more akin to larger centres.
In order to speed up traffic flow, Mayor Greg Dionne is asking members of the public to call either him or their area’s councillor with suggestions.
“I’m always looking for new ideas,” Dionne said. “Why reinvent the wheel when somebody’s already done it? So, if people know or see something that they think is going to work please don’t hesitate to call us.”
The city’s elected officials will consider and implement these ideas over the next couple years, capping off the effort in 2014 with smoother-flowing city streets.
The first major efforts being considered is the installation of dual left turning lanes at certain intersections -- most notably along 15th Street, Dionne said.
Currently, the city only has single turning lanes.
This will be an inexpensive and effective way of speeding up traffic flows, city manager Robert Cotterill said during this week’s executive committee meeting.
Increasing the number of left turning lanes from one to two would “clean that intersection out in half the time,” he added.
Accompanying this effort will be a public education component, Dionne said after the meeting. The city is likely to start with one or two intersections to see how the public takes to it before expanding to other areas.
But, Dionne is optimistic that dual left turning lanes will pan out.
“We have a pretty mobile community, and they’ve probably seen it in other cities, so it’d probably be easy for them to understand it,” he said.
Illegal lane changes and drivers turning right on a red light are possible hazards when it comes to having dual left turning lanes, he noted.
Another proposal floating around council chambers is the creation of roundabouts. But, Dionne said, if roundabouts were installed they’d be part of a longer-term project with an even heavier public education component.
During the traffic flow discussion at this week’s executive committee meeting, the city’s busiest street -- Second Avenue West -- received the most attention.
Why reinvent the wheel when somebody’s already done it? So, if people know or see something that they think is going to work please don’t hesitate to call us. - Mayor Greg Dionne
Coun. Ted Zurakowski was first to point out that there are too many stops along the street.
“It just seems to be a wait at each (intersection),” Zurakowski said, adding that although these might not be considered significant wait times in other centres, “it’s a wait here in Prince Albert.”
“Maybe we can do a little more (research) as to why we need to stop the flow of traffic on Second Avenue West on the south end down the hill,” he suggested.
With traffic congestion slowing things down along Second Avenue West, drivers are making their way to other streets that go up the hill.
This isn’t the right direction to go, Zurakowski said, noting that Second Avenue West is “where the traffic needs to be -- not on Central Avenue, not on Fourth Avenue West where it’s into the residential.”
The city might be able to remove some of the lights along Second Ave. W., Dionne said, citing the recent light removal at its intersection with 13th Street as a good means of speeding things up.
City administration finalized a traffic signal light timing study last month using traffic counts from the summer of 2011.
“It has been determined that all intersections within the city are working as they are meant to and only minor modifications have been required to make the intersections operate as they should,” a report by city transportation project manager Keri Sexmith reads.
During Monday’s executive committee, no concrete decisions were made, though the city’s elected officials did motion to have administration bring forward solutions as to how traffic can be sped up along Second Avenue West.
Accompanying city administration solutions will be those brought forward by the public.
The mayor’s office can be contacted at 953–4300. Contact numbers for the city’s eight councillors can be found on the city website, www.citypa.ca, by clicking on the “city council” tab on the left side of the main page.