$30k traffic safety program for 46 St. to be implemented

An example of what cement islands could look like on 46 St. Image: Ponoka town council agenda

The road leading to the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury, 46 St., will be getting some strategic upgrades in order to address speed and safety concerns of residents.

The 46 St. pilot project was developed as a result of discussions with concerned neighbourhood representatives as well as feedback received through the transportation master plan consultation process.

The two key challenges of the road are its width and unmarked pedestrian crossings.

Administration asked that a budget of $30,000 be allocated from the Transportation Reserve to fund the traffic safety program.

The plan proposes to address the problem, at least for now, with temporary concrete island installations.

The islands are movable and can be placed to essentially shorten the width of the road, with signs mounted to them to warn drivers and mark pedestrian crossings.

Radars could then be installed to monitor if the islands and signs are successful in reducing driving speeds.

If the program is successful, future permanent curbs and bulb outs may be considered.

The plan proposes to locate these traffic calming measures at the existing pedestrian crossing south of 35 Ave., mid-block between 36 Ave. and 37 Ave. and at 38 Ave. Close at the park.

The estimated cost includes $18,700 for 34 concrete islands, $3,000 for traffic signs and $4,000 for engineering and record drawing.

Mayor Rick Bonnett was in support of the project, but not of taking the funds out of the transportation reserve to pay for it.

The transportation reserve currently has a balance of $50,000.

According to Sandra Lund, general manager of corporate services, unlike other reserves such as electrical, water and sewer, the transporation reserve does not have a set funding source.

“This year we’re watching our expenditures, of course, very, very tightly … it wouldn’t be our intent to bring a request to use reserves unless we thought it was the appropriate option,” said Tim Schmidt, general manager of planning and infrastructure.

“I’m very happy with the way you presented this,” said Coun. Clayton Nelson.

“We had a problem, and you went and thought of an out-of-the-box solution,” he said, adding protecting the crosswalk should be the highest priority.

Schmidt explained the scope of the project, and therefore the cost, could be reduced, but CAO Albert Flootman stated that would reduce the overall effectiveness of the measures.

“We’re trying to changes motorists’ behaviour on a stretch of road. Right now, it’s a big wide street and people naturally drive to the design of the street so these are strategic changes designed to change the way people look at the road and behave on it,” said Flootman.

“This street has been a problem for more than 20 years and I’m excited that somebody actually brought a plan that may be reasonable … I drive this road every day and I fully support spending the $30,000,” said Coun. Teri Underill.

Underhill added the suggestion that the motion be changed to state the funds could be replaced in the transportation reserve first if there is an operating surplus.

The motion to take the funds out of the transportation fund carried, with Bonnett and Coun. Carla Prediger opposed.

The motion was then made that upon the year-end review of the 2020 budget, any operational surplus be first allocated in the amount of $30,000 to the transportation reserve.

It was discussed that the motion could be changed at a later time, if it was found the surplus dollars were needed elsewhere. Prediger was opposed and the motion carried.

Town of Ponoka

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