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No turn lights for dangerous intersection: report
Traffic analysts have recommended that turning lights not be installed at Ness Avenue and Mount Royal Road.
In a report to the Assiniboia community committee on Nov. 6, city traffic analysts said the intersection doesn’t see enough turning activity to warrant the installation of left-hand turn lights.
"The installation . . . would unduly increase motorists’ delay on Ness Avenue and reduce the intersection’s overall capacity," the report says.
In July, the committee directed city staff to conduct a study of the intersection and consider the installation of two sets of turning lights — one for eastbound traffic turning into Tim Hortons, and one for westbound traffic wanting to turn south on Mount Royal.
The intersection sees about 29,000 vehicles pass through it each day, the report noted.
However, to warrant turning lights, the left turn demand must exceed 90 vehicles per hour for at least four hours on a typical weekday, according to the report.
The intersection sees 15 to 20 times more through vehicles than left-turning vehicles, the report says, and "vehicles waiting to turn left would continue to block the left traffic lane."
The recommendation isn’t sitting well with nearby residents and business owners, who say the intersection has become more dangerous since a Tim Hortons opened in front of the airport runway in fall 2011.
"They’ll wait ‘til somebody gets fatally injured there, it’s too bad," said resident Peter Penman, adding he is aware of six accidents at the intersection.
Penman said it’s not the volume of traffic passing through the intersection that needs to be examined, but the habits of drivers who pull out from behind long lines of waiting motorists and speed up to avoid delays.
"They need a turning light of some sort to prevent the (broadsiding) of vehicles. That’s what’s happening. Drivers are turning in front of vehicles they cannot see," he said.
The report doesn’t take into account plans for a strip mall on the site of the former Silver Heights Community Centre, slated for redevelopment next year, Penman added.
Plans call for nine retail units at the location with more than 100 parking spaces.
At the meeting, Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands ) directed the report to the city’s public works committee.
The issues at the intersection are well-known to area residents, he said, adding he is encouraging residents to attend an upcoming meeting Nov. 20 to voice their concerns.
"I fundamentally disagree with this report," he said.
"Obviously traffic engineers have never driven down Ness Avenue first thing in the morning because it is a major traffic issue.
"Hopefully common sense can prevail," he said.
The next public works committee meeting is scheduled for Tues., Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at city hall.
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