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Dentist has plan to extract Dogwood Street pain out of the City of Campbell River's mouth

A retired Campbell River dentist says he has the solution to the Dogwood Street traffic lights.

Dr. Donald Neratini wrote a report for council with suggestions to ease what he calls the “Dogwood Street congestion problem.”

Since the city implemented the three-way cycle, computer-controlled traffic lights in 2009, traffic on Dogwood has slowed.

Council has fielded several complaints from the community regarding the lights and last week, Mayor Walter Jakeway welcomed Neratini’s suggestions.

“This is how you get consulting done for free,” Jakeway said at last week’s council meeting.

Neratini, who uses Dogwood on a regular basis, said although there is not enough real estate to create dedicated left-turn lanes at the intersections, there are compromises to keep traffic moving while still keeping the advance left-turn arrows intact.

“Currently, traffic moves only in one direction at any given time, leaving the other traffic stopped,” Neratini said. “I feel this is one of the biggest problems that could be easily addressed. The actual timing of the lights could be adjusted at each intersection, depending upon how busy it is.”

Neratini said the solution is to first activate the green, left-turn arrows for both north and south bound traffic at the same time for about 15 seconds, then turn to amber and then go out.

“This would give any left turners a chance to make their turn, unobstructed, at the beginning of the cycle,” Neratini said.

Then, vehicles in both the north and south lanes would receive the green light to travel straight through at the same time for at least another one and a quarter minutes before the lights go red.

“Needless to say, left turns could be made at any time in the cycle, when it is safe to do so,” Neratini said.

Any side street traffic and pedestrians would have a maximum waiting time of two minutes, until the Dogwood Street cycle is complete.

“In the event that there is no traffic approaching from the side streets, the Dogwood Street traffic would continue in both directions until vehicles or pedestrians arrive and wish to cross the street,” Neratini said. “If the side street traffic arrives one-and-a-half minutes or earlier during the Dogwood Street two-minute cycle, they would have to wait until the cycle is completed naturally.”

If the traffic arrives after the Dogwood Street cycle has passed the one-and-a-half minute mark, it would have to wait 30 seconds for the light to change in their favour, Neratini said.

Once the light changes for the side street traffic, the green light would be active for 30 seconds, or the recommended interval for a pedestrian to safely cross the street. Neratini said after the 30-second interval for side street traffic is complete, the two-minute cycle for north and south bound traffic would begin again.

“I feel Dogwood Street should have traffic moving simultaneously in both directions and would run continuously until interrupted by traffic from the side streets,” Neratini said.

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