City report claims adjustments shaved Dogwood travel times

Adjustments to traffic signals on Dogwood Street have cut down travel times by nearly two minutes at certain times of the day, according to a city report.

Traffic lights along the Dogwood corridor underwent some minor tweaking on Jan. 17 to improve traffic flow and ease the frustrations felt by many motorists on Dogwood since the lights changed in 2009.

The city says so far, it appears the adjustments have had the desired results.

“Staff have compared the corridor travel times from before Jan. 17 to the travel times following the adjustments made. These travel times have been reduced during nearly all times of the day and are now much more consistent throughout the day,” said Ron Neufeld, the city’s manager of operations, in a report to council.

Going 50 kilometres per hour, uninterrupted, the travel time between Merecroft and 9th Avenue is three minutes, 49 seconds but, after the new traffic signal patterns were implemented, that had increased to anywhere from three minutes, 49 seconds to seven minutes, eight seconds, depending on the time of day, said Neufeld.

Since adjustments were made, average travel times for that stretch are between three minutes, 49 seconds and five minutes, six seconds.

The biggest change with the lights should be noticed at night and at the end of the school day. Originally, the system operated in the three-phase co-ordinated mode until 11 p.m. every day; that has since been changed to only last until 9 p.m. when traffic heading north and southbound will both have a green light simultaneously.

After school, the lights were co-ordinated for only south-bound traffic to catch a “green wave.” The signals are now programmed to operate from 1-3:45 p.m. in a three-phase co-ordinated mode with balanced co-ordination between north and southbound traffic. From 3:45-6 p.m. the lights then return to a co-ordinated mode for only southbound traffic.

Co-ordination between all the lights to give northbound traffic the “green wave” has been extended from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Also included in the program adjustments are the pedestrian “walk” signs. Between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 1-6 p.m., the “walk” sign has been programmed to constantly trigger so pedestrians do not need to activate the signal themselves. This feature is in effect at five intersections, excluding Merecroft and Dogwood.

In November, council requested changes be made to the lights after receiving complaints from the public and believing co-ordination issues could be improved.

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