Residents living in the Parkway/Maryland subdivision in the city’s south end are getting fed up with what they say are decreasing water pressures in their homes and a lack of adequate road safety measures.
City council recently received seven letters from residents pleading with the city to rectify the water issue and install a traffic light at Highway 19A and Maryland Road – an intersection that they say has become nearly impossible to navigate.
Troy Roblee said people’s lives are at risk.
“On a daily basis I see near misses and aggressive maneuvers to merge into traffic on Island Highway off Maryland,” Roblee wrote. “I also have witnessed pedestrians jumping out of the way of traffic in the same area on the crosswalk. Time is of the essence to install a traffic light. I am asking you to do this before another preventable fatality happens on the roads of our city.”
Margaret Houseman, in her letter to council, said she herself has nearly been a victim.
“A couple of times in the past, I was almost hit by cars wanting to get onto the highway and taking advantage of the situation when the walk light is blinking for the pedestrian,” she wrote. “It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured in this intersection.”
On top of that, residents have been reporting that the water pressure in their homes has been on the decline as more development moves forward.
Resident Stephanie Zuke said it’s gotten to the point that, “had I known that water would be (an) issue, I would have never purchased a home in this area.”
Rico and Bev Tancon said their water pressure “is already too low for our washing machine and sprinkler system.”
Parkway Properties developers Dan Samson and George Stuart have been going to bat for the residents and in July made a presentation to city council to bring awareness to the issue.
Samson told council he intends to alleviate some of the traffic pressure with a new $1.5 million traffic light-controlled intersection at Jubilee Parkway and Willow Creek Road – a condition imposed on Parkway in order to move forward with future development.
“Certainly we recognize that intersection has to be done,” Samson said. “It’s a real safety hazard.”
As for the water pressure, Samson said the city gave him the option of bringing high pressure water down from the Cordero subdivision, west of Jubilee. But, he added, the cost of what it would be to perform that work is up in the air.
“One engineer said ‘that’s a good $300,000’, the other said ‘that’s a good $500,000.’ We have no idea what the actual cost is at this point in time. We have no plans, nothing is cast.”
The city, for its part, says the city’s water department conducted water pressure testing at a hydrant in the area during the morning of July 13 and again on Aug. 24. The field results showed pressures of 394kPa (57.1psi) and 351kPa (51psi) respectively. Pressure readings were also done at other locations in the neighbourhood (at lower elevations where pressures would be expected to be higher) and all of the observed pressures were well above the city’s minimum standards (ranging from 63 to 89.4 psi), according to Ron Neufeld, the city’s deputy city manager and manager of operations.
“The water pressure available within the existing developed neighbourhoods of Parkway/Maryland is within acceptable standards,” said Neufeld, adding that if Parkway wants to add more properties to the subvision, the onus is on the company. “The solution needed to supply sufficient water pressure to vacant developable lands provides benefits to the developable lands only and as such should be completed at the developer’s expense.”
Neufeld did note, however, that it is recognized that properties on the western boundary do have lower water pressures than the rest of the neighbourhood because of the higher ground elevations.
“These property owners do have the option of installing individual booster pumps on their properties to increase water pressures within their homes if so desired,” Neufeld said.
As for the traffic issues, Neufeld acknowledged that traffic has increased as the neighbourhood has expanded, to the point where some road improvements are required. He said city staff have conducted traffic counts at the three intersections that provide entry to the neighbourhood at Highway 19A – Colorado, Washington and Maryland roads and Maryland does meet the threshold for a traffic signal.
He said the city and council, however, have to prioritize when installing traffic control measures as it costs $250,000 to upgrade an intersection with traffic lights. It’s a cost that the city’s financial plan only funds once every three years.
Neufeld said the city will also take into consideration the addition of the traffic lights at Willow Creek and Jubilee in the coming years.
“Once constructed, this intersection will provide a viable alternative for access and egress to the neighbourhood,” Neufeld said. “Once the intersection of Willow Creek Road and Jubilee Parkway is constructed, it is reasonable to anticipate that a portion of the neighbourhood traffic will select this route.”
In the meantime, the city and Parkway Properties are in the midst of a neighbourhood traffic study that is expected to provide short, medium and long-term recommendations for all points of entry and exit to the neighbourhood. Neufeld said that report is expected to be complete by the end of October and staff plan to report back to council in November with specific recommendations.
“These findings will be key to informing any cost sharing agreement between the city and the developer for the intersection of Willow Creek Road and Jubilee Parkway and/or for any other intersection improvements that may be recommended,” Neufeld said.