Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Critique: The Unfunctional 132nd Ave

I have been fairly supportive of this past Council.  I believe they have made a number of great forward-thinking decisions while keeping tax increases at the lowest they've been in years.  I know as a newcomer, it's not politically in my interests to say that, but I'm not one to go negative just for political gain.  I like to speak my mind.

With that said, I do have one major critique of this past Council.  It has to do with how the 132nd Ave. Functional Study was handled. 

132nd Ave. and 100 St. has become one of the busiest intersections in town.  It has also become the intersection with one of the highest collision rates.  Much of this has to do with the design.

A Functional Study of 132nd Ave. was completed in October 2012.  The study proposed three stages of road expansion once City populations reached 65,000, 78,000, and 90,000.  The study also proposed several changes that could be implemented right away within existing conditions to improve traffic flow and to make the 132nd Ave/100 St. intersection safer.

These changes included either cutting off the 100 St. service roads from 132 Ave or making them right in/right out.  A raised median extending from 99th St. to 101 St. was also proposed.

All these proposals obviously upset business owners in the area as they would hinder access to and from their businesses.  Without getting into too much detail, the previous Council decided not to accept any of the study's proposals and asked for another report taking into account more consultation with business owners.  The report came back in September and now there is going to be another one-day facilitated "Charrette" to consult with businesses again and come up with possible solutions.

My thoughts:

This process has taken way too long.  There are serious safety and traffic flow issues that needed to be addressed yesterday.  I would have like to have seen Council adopt one or more of the immediate fixes.  I understand that there are access concerns.  As a regular customer of several of the businesses affected, I get how accessing them would be a little more difficult.

However, these changes are to be expected when located next to a major arterial road.  We are not a one-horse town anymore.  We need to make decisions recognizing that we cannot retain the same traffic designs when intersection traffic flows have doubled over the past 20 years to 22,000+ vehicles per day. 

And customers adapt.  The changes will be annoying at first, but over time you get used to them.  I also don't believe that they would adversely affect business viability.

Let's put safety first and get this intersection fixed.

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