At least two members of council are still concerned about the impact a new apartment complex on 9th Avenue will have on an already high-incident intersection.
Coun. Larry Samson raised his concerns during the development permitting process for Linda’s Place, a 27-unit apartment complex two properties down from the Head Injury Support Society’s office at the corner of 9th and Dogwood. Because the society-run building’s parking lot would only be accessible from the alleyway between 9th and Phoenix field, residents and visitors would need to use the entrance/exit to that alleyway on Dogwood Street, which Samson thought would cause problems.
Staff came back with a report to council last week saying that based on data from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, there are, on average, approximately .55 trips per dwelling unit from an apartment complex in the morning peak hour and .67 trips per unit in the afternoon/evening peak hours. This would translate to about 15 trips (four in and 11 out) in the morning and 18 in the afternoon/evening (11 in and six out).
“These numbers assume a conventional market apartment complex with 27 units,” the report states. “Actual traffic generated will likely be significantly lower, based on the nature of the residents,” referring to the fact that at least 10 of the units have been reserved for clients of the Head Injury Support Society, who are unlikely to drive.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield was away when the development permit was issued, and said he, too, has concerns, despite the new report.
“Having been involved in the rebuilding of Dogwood along its full length, one of the things with ICBC was reducing the number of access and egress points to and from Dogwood. I have a real concern directing traffic onto Dogwood at that laneway,” Cornfield said.
“I find it extremely strange that there is no access to this development from 9th Avenue,” Cornfield continued, “considering its address is on 9th, why we approved a development that had no access off the main street. I think it’s very shortsighted to use a lane that was not designed act as a roadway as, in fact, an access roadway.”
Samson said while the report does relieve his concerns surrounding the number of vehicles expected to use the alley to access the new complex, he’s still concerned about a couple of other things. Specifically, he hopes the city will make some upgrades to the alley to ensure safety, such as signage or the clearing of sightlines for visibility.
Director of Operations Drew Hadfield said while there are currently no plans in place to perform any upgrades or signage installation, “if council wishes to pursue something of that nature, we can definitely pursue that.”
Cornfield is concerned there’s a double-standard being set in this case, saying that if this development was being built by a private developer, “they would be required them to fix up that laneway if it was to become an access, and I think we need to treat people equitably.”
Subsequent to the receipt of this report, Samson requested another that would examine what safety measures could be put in place, including the possibility of making the entrance/exit onto dogwood a right in/right out only.
Mayor Andy Adams agreed that would be a good consideration.
“When I picture a rainy winter night with people going southbound (on Dogwood) through a green light having somebody pulling out into four lanes of traffic (turning left out of the alleyway), that’s, to me, not a good situation,” Adams said. “I would really like to see the report include not only right-in/right-out, but also a yield sign or something, as Coun. Samson has alluded to.”
Council has directed city staff to consult with the RCMP on what the best course of action is before moving forward with a plan for the alleyway, but the consensus from council seems to be that, at the very least, there should be no turning left either into or out of the alleyway to or from Dogwood Street going forward.