Traffic signal to be installed at 40th and Ironside

A busy southside intersection that is threatening the lives of many who cross it will get traffic lights by next year.

A busy southside intersection that is threatening the lives of many who cross it will get traffic lights by next year.

Traffic signals will be installed at 40th Avenue and Ironside (Southbrook) Street after council unanimously gave the green light on Monday. The estimated cost of $235,000 will come from municipal reserves.

Council was told the lights could be installed sooner, but it depends on getting the materials which normally takes six to eight months.

Robert Schneider wrote to city council, saying traffic lights were badly needed for the area.

“With the wait times reaching upwards of three to five minutes, it is very frustrating as well as dangerous to exit from Ironside as well as Sunnybrook,” he said. “There have been some close calls and near incidents as well.”

Sunnybrook South resident Coun. Tara Veer said she’s heard from numerous residents about the dangers of trying to cross several lanes of traffic between Sunnybrook South and Inglewood.

She said people began raising alarm in 2010, and since then, there’s been collisions and other safety issues arising from increasing traffic volumes in both neighbourhoods. Drivers are taking risks at doing left-hand turns, for one thing.

“Kids are trying to cross five lanes of traffic. . . we’re fortunate there hasn’t been an incident so far,” Veer said in council chambers.

Council was also asked to consider pedestrian activated traffic signals at Ross Street and Coronation Park crossing, but there were so many questions around this, council decided to delay its decision. A staff report will come by the end of 2012, including exploring an option to install an amber flashing light.

City manager Craig Curtis said this has been an ongoing issue since 1982 when the Devonian trail system was built linking Barrett Park and Coronation Park.

Curtis has witnessed a number of near misses involving pedestrians and vehicles, so he’d like to see signals installed.

“This is a very important part of the trail system,” said Curtis.

The city’s Engineering Services conducted a traffic count in May and determined that pedestrian signals were not warranted.

Between 3 and 4 p.m., there were 106 10-second gaps per hour for vehicles, number of pedestrians per hour were 25 and average delay to pedestrians was 24 seconds.

Those numbers didn’t change much over the next couple of hours.

Council was told the statistics were gathered during weekdays and not on weekends.

Engineering also found only one reported citizen complaint in the past 10 years.

Coun. Cindy Jefferies said she would rather not see a traffic light at the base of Ross Street heading west and then another traffic signal on the other side.

She’d rather see an amber light pedestrian crossing which is activated when the walker presses the button.

Coun. Buck Buchanan agreed, saying he wondered if a full green-amber-red light would give the effect that the city was looking for.

Coun. Lynne Mulder said she couldn’t support lights at the crossing.

“I feel we don’t have enough information,” she said. “I can’t do it in good conscience when we don’t know what else is out there.”

Coun. Paul Harris said he did his own informal poll online and so far had 27 people in favour of signalized pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Ross Street Hill.

Another six said ‘no.’

Harris was the sole one to vote against delaying the decision.

In other council news:

l council delayed approving first reading until Sept. 4 to amend the dog bylaw so that some of their questions could be answered.