Friday, June 24, 2016

Growing pains

If the city of Calgary is making development and road decisions you don't agree with, it's possible that you might need to look toward your community association.

In my community, the city said it was planning some changes to a major thoroughfare to calm traffic passing through the community. This would be accomplished by adding a more substantial median, banners, trees and flowers, similar to what you see on stretches of Memorial Drive, etc.

But when I attended the information session for the city's plans so far, there is no indication of any of those changes. Instead, I saw the addition of bike lanes, and the reduction in the number of traffic lanes on some major streets. But the city did mention that they now had data to support the addition of left turn signals on some key roads. When asked if those new signals would be part of the plan, the answer was no. When pressed to find out why, it was because the community association asked that they not be implemented.

So I spoke to the president of the association, who was present. I said that a lot of residents were looking forward to an easier time turning left into, or out of, their own neighbourhood. But there are other residents who oppose the signals because of short-cutting through their neighbourhood en route to points north.

So for the sake of extra traffic going up a key road, other residents will continue to endure a difficult time turning left into their own neighbourhood. I suggested, somewhat controversially, that this short-cutting was much ado about nothing anyway. People will take the path of least resistance, and a commuter shouldn't be punished for wanting to take an efficient path to their destination. Although some residents saw my point, what they are really troubled by is not the actual traffic volume, but traffic speed, and safety concerns for crossing pedestrians. I remarked that it's not right to try to curb speeding by restricting access to an entire neighbourhood.

Some residents also suggested that the lack of left signal and the loss of a full lane on a road providing egress from the community, would create a big problem when the multi-use sports park finishes up for the day. Up to 600 vehicles all trying to leave on one single lane road, with no left turn signal to get onto a major highway.

I pleaded with city officials to please remember that any measures taken to resolve concerns must take the whole community into consideration, not just those living near one particular street. Every day, I and countless others like me, struggle to get in and out of our own neighbourhood because of heavy rush hour traffic coming in a particular direction down a major road. To suggest that a left signal will inconvenience someone else is shortsighted and selfish. Community associations need to not only take vocal residents into account, but invite and include other voices as well.

No comments: