Some welcome, question new road into RDC

Reactions ranged from doing the “happy dance” about a proposed new south access road into Red Deer College to questioning the need for it, at a public open house on Thursday.

Reactions ranged from doing the “happy dance” about a proposed new south access road into Red Deer College to questioning the need for it, at a public open house on Thursday.

A trickle of about 20 people came through in the first two hours of the information session at the Red Deer College forum.

One of the few without a college connection was West Park resident Lani Thompson, who hoped the new road would reduce some of “the 10,000 vehicles a day that go by my house,” near 32nd Street.

“I’m doing the happy dance right now,” said Wilson, who wished the road connecting the southeast portion of Circle Drive on college grounds with 28th Street was built years ago.

The earliest the new access would be constructed is 2012.

The timing depends on when a new portion of 28th Street is built, west of Taylor Drive.

Representatives of Al-Terra Engineering were hired by RDC to design the 250-metre access route that would take some traffic pressure off 32nd Street.

The $1.5 million road would run through a narrow eastern portion of Bower Woods and require the installation of a bridge culvert over Waskasoo Creek.

Thomas said the college pledged to West Park residents to build this third access some 10 years ago.

But Brian Stackhouse and Guillermo Barron were among those who questioned why it was needed at all.

Stackhouse doubts the new access would significantly reduce traffic on 32nd Street, since it would link up to the narrow Circle Drive and not be close to parking.

Students living in residences along Circle Drive might also not appreciate the extra vehicles, he added.

Barron said, “The more roads people have, the more they will drive.”

Since the college already improved two main accesses from 32nd Street, he would prefer if bike and walking trails were developed from the south side instead.

The RDC instructors, along with their colleague Pliny Hayes, favoured keeping the natural area and trail system south of the college intact.

But Al-Terra engineer Bill Thomas said studies were done and this route was seen as most environmental — needing less tree removal — and more economical — crossing the creek at a perpendicular angle — than other options.

“We tried to minimize impacts.”

Residence manager Glenice Grover sees the new road as a positive improvement, as does student Steven Tkachyk, who likes having a more direct access to college residences.

Hayes suggested a small ledge be built inside the creek culvert so small animals, including squirrels and rabbits, can cross under the roadway and not into traffic.

Thomas said public comments will be considered before making a final presentation to the City of Red Deer.

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