Edmonton looking at city-wide solution to neighbourhood traffic problems

Edmonton looking at city-wide solution to neighbourhood traffic problems

Council's urban planning committee is recommending council approve a new city-wide approach to managing community traffic issues.

Wednesday's move came as committee members heard complaints that previous traffic calming efforts in individual neighbourhoods have caused problems for communities next door.

"The way this is handled is kind of like whack-a-mole — you solve a problem in one community and then it moves over to the next community," Sherbrooke resident Patty Coates told the urban planning committee.

The committee will recommend council approve a new traffic calming policy that promises to avoid those types of situations. Details are still being developed but it will identify traffic needs for the whole city, set priorities, and include a process to get communities involved.

As part of the new policy, the city will also be asking residents about lower speed limits in neighbourhoods. A plan is being developed on how to gather the feedback on speed limits.

Sherbrooke, where Coates lives, is directly west of the Prince Charles community in the northwest. In July 2015, the city introduced traffic calming measures in Prince Charles to slow down drivers and stop shortcutting.

"We sympathize with Prince Charles but we just don't feel like it had to be either/or," said Coates. "It's created animosity between the Prince Charles and Sherbrooke communities."

Curb extensions and traffic barriers were placed on 124th Street at 119th and 120th Avenues, and on 122nd Street at 119th Avenue. As well, the 124th Street access to Yellowhead Trail has been closed.

Traffic started shortcutting past schools on Sherbrooke Avenue and 122nd Avenue after access to Yellowhead Trail at 124th Street was closed, said Coates.

The committee is recommending these measures remain, and that a new traffic light be installed at 118th Avenue and 122nd Street.

City council will vote on that recommendation at a meeting next week.

Sonia Sobon, spokesperson for a group representing 21 neighbourhoods, told the committee it's time to act to stop drivers from shortcutting on side streets.

"We've been waiting years for action to stop shortcutting traffic through our residential communities," Sobon said.

"We are growing impatient."