City staff doesn’t ease councillor’s concerns

Councillor concerns about traffic impacts on Dogwood Street with new chiropractic clinic

Council will hold off on taking any extreme measures to block illegal left-hand turns to and from a chiropractor clinic to be built on Dogwood Street.

Council made the decision to wait until the new Discovery Chiropractic Clinic is up and running and traffic volumes can be properly evaluated before spending money on concrete medians.

Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, told council that because anticipated traffic flow from the clinic isn’t yet known, it’s difficult to predict the impacts.

“As the volume, use and conflicts are not known, any traffic control or restrictions may not be required,” Hadfield wrote in a report to council. “Changes could be done at a later date if they are deemed to be required.”

The clinic, which will be built on the gravel lot next to the downtown fire hall, is expected to have an entrance off of Dogwood Street that will only allow motorists to turn right both into and out of the clinic.

Coun. Larry Samson, at the April 7 council meeting, raised concerns that drivers may ignore the right turn only rule, potentially creating traffic headaches on Dogwood Street.

Council had asked staff to report back on what could be done to ensure people abide by the rules, and that report was before council Monday night.

Though Hadfield wrote in the report that the transportation department couldn’t foresee any major problems, Samson said his original concerns still existed.

“I do have concerns with this development and that’s with the right in, right out,” Samson said at last Monday’s council meeting. “With this area, we see it’s right opposite 12th Avenue, we see it’s right below the Dogwood Street hill and we are anticipating a development permit for a fast food drive-thru where the old Save-On Foods gas station was, so it’s a busy intersection and it’s going to get busier.”

Samson put forward a motion directing the city’s transportation department to incorporate a traffic control median in the 2016 financial plan, but that was defeated by council.

Mayor Andy Adams said he’d prefer to wait and see how things play out once the clinic is in operation and staff are able to report back with more concrete traffic numbers.

“I certainly appreciate and understand the intent (of Samson’s motion) but to be restrictive and looking at a median I think it loses some flexibility and I think we need to see what’s there,” Adams said. “I look forward to staff coming back with their recommendations.”

Coun. Charlie Cornfield agreed and said he would like to see the intersection re-visited once the chiropractor clinic is up and running.

“I think we should look at it and have it come back,” Cornfield said. “I would like to see it looked at with staff coming back with some recommendation to ensure that intersection is safe after the construction.”

Council approved a motion directing staff to report back once construction is complete with options of how to ensure safety at the intersection.

If council does decide to go ahead with putting in a concrete median, according to Hadfield, it would cost the city $10,000 to $12,000 “in order to properly tie in the existing median, the crosswalk and new section as well as replace the existing asphalt median surface with river rock finish to match other newer installations.”

Hadfield added that while the city has not done a recent traffic count at the location in question, a pedestrian count was recently done as well as a review of the crosswalk on Dogwood Street at 12th Avenue. Hadfield said as a result of those pedestrian counts, the city will be putting in a pedestrian solar flashing light.

Between 2009 and 2013 there were seven accidents at that location, as reported by ICBC, with three involving injuries and four resulting in property damage.