Seniors living at Ironwood Place said they were terrified crossing at Ironwood and 14th Avenue and had been asking the city for pedestrian flashing lights for several years before council approved their request in October. Council decided last week during financial planning to put more money aside for pedestrian light requests going forward. Mirror File Photo/Kristen Douglas

CITY BUDGET 2018: Traffic improvements on the way

Advance turn arrows downtown, more pedestrian lights and a bus pullout on Dogwood at Carihi in 2019

City council decided to make a few changes to the priority list during financial planning discussions last week in regards to how traffic moves around a few areas of the city.

Besides continuing the design work on the Highway 19A improvement project, which will see the improvements begun in Willow Point a few years ago continue further up the road as far as McCallum Park – as well as upgrade aging infrastructure along the waterfront – the city will also install advance turn lights at St. Ann’s Street and Shoppers Row, set aside more money for crosswalk lights annually beginning next year and will install a bus pullout on Dogwood Street at Carihi in 2019.

“We’ve been having a lot of discussion with the city and the school district liason about that bus stop,” Babchuk said, “It’s a very congested area up there, and this would allow the bus to actually pull off the street so traffic could continue. It’s a very doable project, it just needs some money.”

Coun. Larry Samson agreed.

“We see the students lined up on Dogwood Street waiting to get on the buses on a four-lane arterial road running right there – it’s a recipe for disaster,” Samson said. He also asked, however, if they should be adding some extra money into that plan for the design work required for the project to be “shovel-ready” when it was time to install the pullout.

“My understanding is that there has been some preliminary design work done already by an engineering consultant on behalf of the city and the school district,” said Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, adding, “the project is not particularly huge,” so the detailed design work should be minimal once the go-ahead is given for it to proceed.

The transit stop and bus pullout is scheduled for 2019 and is expected to cost approximately $300,000 – though there may be some cost-sharing with the school district.

Mayor Andy Adams’ motion to move the advance turn arrows at the corner of St. Ann’s and Shoppers Row up in the city’s list of priorities was also met with unanimous approval from the rest of council.

“I think this is the highest traffic intersection we have in our community and I think we saw with the tremendous amount of visitors that came this past summer season, we saw that advance arrows would really help the flow of moving people through our downtown core,” Adams said.

The money to install those advance turn arrows will now become a priority for staff when pulling from the previously-approved $200,000 traffic light replacement budget.

Coun. Charlie Cornfield looked at the list of unfunded priorities and saw that there wasn’t any money in the budget until 2020 for adding crosswalk signals, and asked to remedy that. The 10-year plan called for $30,000 for crosswalk signals to be budgeted in 2020 and again in 2024, but Cornfield wanted some for next year, too.

“I think it’s important,” Cornfield said. “We always seem to get hit up for additional lights, so I’d like to see us make a consistent move to put money aside to get a few of those things done every year.”

Pedestrian lights, council was told, cost approximately $15,000 per set of two, so this funding will allow for two sets to be installed next year, once it is determined where they would be best placed.

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