The Town of Ponoka held an open house for the unveiling of its transportation and urban framework master plans at the Ponoka Civic Building on June 18.
The town approved a budget of $187,000 for the development of the master plans in the 2018 capital budget. The cost was fully covered by MSI grant funding.
McElhanney Engineering Consultants have been working with the town for about a year now to develop the plans with input from the public.
The multi-disciplinary team working on the project includes planners, landscape architects, civil engineers and transportation engineers.
The work being completed includes data collection (including collision reports from the RCMP), traffic surveys, multiple public consultation opportunities and consultation with Alberta Transportation.
Some of the goals of the transportation master plan are to identify specific safety and operational concerns, encourage the use of active modes of transportation, define truck routes and goods movements and improve the condition of existing infrastructure.
A few areas of concern that were identified were 53 Ave. and 50 St., 53 Ave. and Hwy 2A, and the 50 St. corridor (50 Ave. to 52 Ave.).
Hwy. 2A and 53 Ave. was found to have traffic backups from adjacent intersections, causing dangerous conditions and sightlines. The narrow road and poor access management create driver confusion.
A possible solution would be the addition of channelized turn lanes, including concrete islands to ensure proper use of understanding of lanes.
On 50 St., the project found that collisions are caused by angled parking on the east side of 50 St. when parked vehicles attempt to back out onto the busy street.
A possible solution would be to change from angle parking to parallel and adding bulbouts on the east side of 51 St. and 51 Ave. and all corners of 51 Ave.
According to Tim Schmidt, general manager of planning and infrastructure, this will be the Town of Ponoka’s first ever transportation master plan, and it will help facilitate the community’s needs over time.
The transportation master plan has a scope of at least a decade and will help prioritize projects for years to come.
The urban framework master plan is more about a “sense of place” when it comes to signage, streetscapes and landscaping. The plan has identified a number of colours, textures and materials that were felt represent Ponoka.
“Tonight is really just the starting point for that component,” said Schmidt.
At the open house, information boards were on display, outlining the plans and members of the public were asked to fill out a survey at the end.
Members of the public can still give their feedback on the plans. They are posted on the town’s website, along with a comment form that can be filled out and submitted.
The website also has an interactive map, added in fall 2018, where the public can identify areas of concern for the town to consider.
The town has said it will consider all feedback carefully, and continue to work with the consulting firm before bringing a finalized plan before council for approval. The project is expected to be finished by the end of 2019.