At a public hearing Wednesday afternoon, Saskatoon city council addressed a city report looking at making changes to the intersection at Clarence Avenue and Main Street.
“Administration recommends channelization on Main Street. Channelization involves modifying the existing median on both Main Street approaches to create right turn only lanes,” said Saskatoon director of transportation Jay Magus.
This would mean drivers travelling east or west on Main Street will no longer be able to drive straight through, or turn left onto Clarence Avenue.
The review isn’t the first time Saskatoon city council has discussed the issue. A review was conducted in 2002, as well as 2013. Both reviews resulted in the same recommendation as the report on Wednesday; however, due to opposition from nearby residents, the changes were not implemented at the time.
The city report states concerns are still being raised to administration and collisions continue.
“Between 2016 and 2020, there were a total of 35 collisions at the intersection of which 17 were right-angle, again the more severe type of collision compared to a rear end or side swipe,” said Magus.
He added those 17 collisions resulted in 4 injuries.
In the two-year span from 2021 to 2022, there were 16 total collisions, 13 right-angle collisions, and 12 resulted in injuries.
“Obviously there is a disturbing trend, and we have a safety issue at this intersection,” added Magus.
Residents of nearby neighbourhoods took the chance to speak to council on the matter, many differing in opinion.
“In short, this plan creates more problems than it solves. It fails to consider the increasing density of the street, it drives traffic onto streets that are largely unequipped to handle it, and it disturbs the integrity of the neighbourhoods,” said nearby resident Roberta Coulter.
“The community has changes in a way that we’re seeing a lot more young couples, families starting, we’re seeing more a lot more pedestrians, children, and cyclists and being able to provide safety for them through this solution I think is a great benefit,” added Steven Thomson of Varsity View.
Administration said it did consider a variety of other options, including removing trees to improve sight line, the use of an all-way stop, and traffic signals.
Council acknowledged the struggle of making all residents in the area happy, but ultimately decided to support the administration’s recommendation with a unanimous vote.
The changes include the channelization installation, a bicycle signal, and a pedestrian-actuated signal modification, all costing the city a total of $150,000.
Residents can expect the changes to be made during this calendar year.