The intersection at Alder and Evergreen is not busy enough to warrant a four-way stop, according to city staff.
Council asked staff to look at the intersection following a stop sign request from Alder resident Ted Haylow.
Melissa Heidema, the city’s transportation specialist, said that in looking at 2011 traffic counts, the volume split (which compares the amount of traffic flowing north-south with the traffic volumes heading east-west) is 87-13. A traffic split of 60-40 is the threshold for consideration of a four-way stop.
“A traffic count was completed during the p.m. peak hour,” Heidema wrote in a report to council. “The intersection does not warrant a four-way stop.”
During the traffic count, 797 vehicles passed through the intersection on Alder Street while 121 drove through the intersection on Evergreen.
Heidema said since the traffic count was done in 2011, traffic volumes can be scaled up by three per cent to get a more accurate reading but noted that increase is minimal.
Some councillors, however, said they would like to see more updated numbers before making a decision.
“The concern I have is that the traffic count was completed on Feb. 3, 2011,” Coun. Larry Samson said. “It’s three years-old data. And is that day in February what we would consider as normal traffic at this intersection?”
Other councillors agreed and voted to have city staff monitor the intersection, particularly once construction on the new hospital is underway and Birch Street between Evergreen and 1st Avenue is expected to be temporarily closed.
According to the 2011 traffic count, 209 vehicles passed through Birch and 1st Avenue during peak morning hour while 191 vehicles drove through that intersection in the peak evening hour.
Heidema, though, said she’s not convinced that will have a huge affect on Alder.
“Some of this diverted traffic may end up on Dogwood Street, some may end up on Alder via another intersection, while some may end up going through the Alder-Evergreen intersection,” Heidema wrote. “Even adding 200 vehicles per hour to westbound traffic, the north-south/east-west split decreases from 87-13 to 71-29.”
City staff also questioned the need for a four-way at Alder and Evergreen based on accident history.
There were 17 collisions reported to ICBC from 2009-’13, an average of 3.4 per year, which falls short of the five collisions per year trigger point.
Still, Haylow has is pushing council to improve safety along Alde ever since the change to the traffic lights on Dogwood.
“Since the reconfiguration….Alder Street has become extremely dangerous,” said Haylow.
told city council at its July 8 meeting. “People speed and do not drive with due care and attention.”
In the meantime, the city is in the middle of working on an Alder Street corridor review which recommends a cross-section of two wide travel lanes, on-street parking on both sides of the street, and a wider sidewalk. Specific intersections will be recommended for curb bulges and medians. The report is expected to be released in the fall.