Data headed to the Urban Planning Committee shows traffic-calming measures in Edmonton’s Prince Charles neighbourhood have been effective in reducing vehicle traffic and city staff are recommending some changes be permanent.
High vehicle traffic, high speeds and concerns for pedestrian safety brought changes to the neighbourhood in July 2015. Curb extensions were installed on 124 Street at 119 Avenue and 120 Avenue as well as at 122 Street and 119 Avenue.
“We have kids that try to access, from the east, to the park… that would literally have their lives at risk every time they cross the street,” said Ron Jacob, the president of the Prince Charles Community League.
“[124 Street] was a major street and it’s not a major street. This is a residential street so, yeah, there was a lot of anger.”
Traffic barriers were also installed at 124 Street north of 123 Avenue to remove access between the neighbourhood and Yellowhead Trail. The trial measures were to be observed and then assessed for at least one year.
Since the traffic calming measures have been installed, vehicle traffic has fallen dramatically:
- At 118 Avenue and 124 Street: from 6,800-7,600 vehicles a day pre-trial to 3,900 vehicles a day post-trial
- Near Prince Charles Park: from 6,500-6,800 vehicles a day pre-trial to 2,100 vehicles a day post-trial
- South of 123 Avenue: from 6,700 vehicles a day pre-trial to 900 a day
Jacob said the changes have been “incredible.”
“The street is now almost quiet. It’s refreshing. The two sides of the community have fused together now,” he said.
Andy Nadema has lived in the neighbourhood since 2001 and has three young children. He said the changes have been “the best thing the city ever did.”
“Since they closed it, it’s been very quiet. It’s been a nice change,” he said.
“The kids, I let them venture off a lot more, still in eyesight, but at least you don’t have to worry about a car racing by.”
Traffic speeds along 124 Street just north of 120 Avenue have also fallen, going from 63 km/h to 52 km/h.
Many residents support the measures but some also say more needs to be done to mitigate shortcutting through the neighbourhood.
Jacob said there is talk of raised intersections to curb the speed of motorists travelling through the neighbourhood.
“There’s still folks who are using 124 Street and then the avenues, like 120, 121 or 122 to go to 127 Street on the west side or vice versa,” he said.
Support for the barriers south of the Yellowhead Trail received mixed reviews – while 85 per cent of residents surveyed were comfortable with the measure, 58 per cent of respondents in the business community did not approve.
City staff are recommending 124 Street and 123 Avenue be permanently closed and for curb extensions at 124 Street and 119 Avenue and 120 Avenue to be permanently constructed. They are also recommending the installation of a traffic light at 122 Street and 118 Avenue along with extension of the southbound left turn lane on 124 Street and 118 Avenue.
Administration is also recommending temporary measures at 122 Street and 119 Avenue be removed.
The issue heads to the Urban Planning Committee on Wednesday.