Calgary councillor calls traffic calming project an early success

The traffic calming pilot project has narrowed Country Hills Drive from four lanes to two.
The traffic calming pilot project has narrowed Country Hills Drive from four lanes to two. Tim Lee / Global News

A traffic calming pilot project in Calgary’s northwest community of Country Hills is being heralded as a success by Coun. Jyoti Gondek.

The project uses pylons and barricades to reduce the number of lanes on Country Hills Drive from four to two.

Gondek said people in the area were seeing too many drivers speeding through the playground zone near Country Hills Heights.

“This neighbourhood has had trouble for a very long time with this playground zone,” said Gondek on Wednesday. “[There is] a wonderful crosswalk but there are four lanes of traffic that you have to get through.”

Gondek said she worked with Calgary’s roads department to come up with a low-cost solution.

“What we didn’t want to do is come in with a permanent solution that would cost a lot of money until we knew whether it would work,” said Gondek.

READ MORE: Colourful pilot project curbing speeding in Calgary community

She added that while the project is still in the early stages, she’s already seen a huge improvement.

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“Cars are actually going the speed limit. People aren’t trying to pass each other and people aren’t trying to use this as a quick and easy route to get from Country Hills Boulevard to 96th Avenue,” said Gondek.

“People are actual respecting the fact that it’s a playground zone and people actually live here.”

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There is no end date for the pilot project, and Gondek said she is working with the roads department to put the same sort of low-cost traffic calming measures along other problem spots.

Urban planning

Gondek wants the Country Hills project to shine a light on how future neighbourhoods can be better designed.

“We [designed] neighbourhoods for the free flow of traffic and that was the thing we were most concerned about,” said Gondek. “We didn’t think about how people would actually live in these neighbourhoods and how they would walk across the street.”

She added that more forethought could have prevented Country Hills Drive from becoming a problem spot.

“96th Avenue [wasn’t] to be completed anytime soon when the neighbourhood was created. It was felt that [96th] was a good way for people to commute around Country Hills,” said Gondek. “But once 96th came into play, there should’ve been some contemplation of what would happen to this particular street.”
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