City tames popular shortcut to airport by shrinking road

Drivers rushing to the airport along Country Hills Drive in northwest Calgary are being squeezed going through a playground zone in an attempt to slow traffic.  

The two-block stretch on Country Hills Drive N.W. between Country Hills Road N.W. and Country Hills View N.W.  has been narrowed from four lanes to two as part of a pilot project, with pylons lining the route until the city can install yellow curbs. 

"It's just become a convenient point to whip through and you're not supposed to whip through it because there's a playground zone," said Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who represents the area. 

"So I think this is going to be for the betterment of the community and it will keep people a lot safer."

Helen Pike/CBC

Prior to the narrowing of lanes, the city conducted traffic studies in the area to get a baseline on average speeds in the community.

Local response

"Ideally, if people just slowed down, that would be the ideal thing, and you wouldn't have to have what used to be four lanes of traffic narrowed into two — that's not the best solution," said John Hitt, who lives nearby. 

However, Hitt says he understands concerns over speed in the area. 

Another nearby resident, Camille Jackson, says her daughter often has to run back onto the sidewalk after trying to cross the road. 

She says the new measures are already having an impact. 

"You can definitely see there's been a decrease in traffic," she said. 

"It's still a bottleneck as people go through but I am not seeing three or four blocks of traffic blocked up because they're trying to turn onto Country Hills Boulevard."