The fallout from the reconfiguration of the Dogwood Street traffic lights continued Tuesday night as an Alder Street resident came before council to express concerns that his residential street has become a freeway.
Ted Haylow said the citizens who live along Alder Street are fed up with the way motorists drive down the street and the city has done nothing about it.
“Ever since the reconfiguration to the lights on Dogwood and the modifications to the roadways on Murphy Street and Highway 19A, Alder Street has become a freeway for speeders and heavy traffic,” Haylow said. “We have waiting patiently for the city to work on our behalf to slow the traffic on Alder before someone is killed. After all, it was the city that redirected the traffic from Dogwood.”
A group of frustrated Alder residents banded together to form the Alder Street Coalition in 2010 in response to reckless drivers moving over to Alder Street, prompted by the new lights on Dogwood and construction along Highway 19A. The coalition appeared in front of council and in response the city took speed readings of the traffic along Alder but determined vehicle speed wasn’t overly excessive.
Residents at the time complained that traffic often travelled over the posted 50 km/hr speed limit and reported seeing several near misses of people nearly being hit at crosswalks.
Three years later, Haylow said those problems still persist. He said the biggest problem is there is nothing to slow down the traffic along Alder between Rockland Road and 2nd Avenue.
He said the four-way stop at 2nd and Alder is working well in his opinion and he requested council install the same traffic pattern at Merecroft and Alder which he said has become one of the worst intersections in town.
“The city has made the situation worse by installing left-hand turn lanes at Alder and Merecroft,” Haylow said. “The residents of this street see near misses almost regularly. They have almost been hit while walking in crosswalks, they have almost been hit while walking along the road, they’ve almost been hit while taking out the garbage, they’ve almost been hit while pulling out of their driveways.
“Cars constantly speed, tail gate and most of all, drive without due care and attention,” Haylow added.
Coun. Andy Adams asked Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, what the cost would be to install two more stop signs at the Merecroft and Alder street intersection.
Neufeld responded that it would cost the city between $100,000 and $200,000. Neufeld added that $25,000 is in this year’s budget to complete a study on the Alder Street corridor – from one end to the other. A further $300,000 is tentatively targeted for 2014 to implement the improvements recommended in the study.
Coun. Mary Storry wanted to further investigate improving Alder and made a motion to have staff report back on the feasibility and costs of converting the intersection at Alder and Merecroft into a four-way stop with flashing lights.
Haylow said those improvements would fit with the city’s plan for the street and are just common sense.
“Our patience has run out, they use stop signs to slow traffic on four-lane roads in Palm Springs,” Haylow said. “Let’s learn something to save our roads and our lives.”