September 27, 2013 - 5:08 PM
PENTICTON - Slapping a solution on Kinney Avenue's speeding traffic problems without studying the problem might make things worse.
Creative Transportation Solutions president Jan Voss says a municipality needs data, such as numbers of cars going east and west, how many are zooming by at different times of the day, the place they begin to slow down to let pedestrians across and other such information.
Penticton council voted on Monday to try various remedies for slowing down vehicles including temporary speed bumps and a narrowing of the road via traffic cones. City staff will determine which is the most effective before committing to a permanent solution. Mayor Garry Litke and many other municipalities also supported the return of photo-radar even though the B.C. Liberals are dead set against it.
Council and the staff at Parkway Elementary School are concerned about speeding traffic going in front of the school. The building's main entrance and parking lot both face Kinney Avenue. Operations director Mitch Moroziuk say traffic cones have been crushed, school personnel have been hit and the cut-out of a crossing guard has been knocked over.
Long-time resident Ellie Petersen says Kinney Avenue is always busy with traffic. One time she counted 180 vehicles going by in one hour.
Sherry Brooks lives across the street from the school, on the corner of Kinney Avenue and McGraw Street. She's worked for a traffic solutions company and says a three-way stop would be ideal. Narrowing the street won't slow anyone down and she was disappointed with the attempt of using orange cones to guide and calm traffic.
There are also dozens and dozens of parents driving up to the school to drop-off or pick-up their children. The road becomes narrower with parked cars crowding the street which also blocks driveways.
She says says having the cut-out knocked over by vehicles are not fair indications of dangerous driving. The cut-out shifts position with the wind and its width takes up too much of the road. Drivers might have a difficult time avoiding it even if they do see the cut-out. A three-way stop would be the cheapest and most effective way to slow traffic.
Voss says a stop-sign solution needs to be done right or it's going to create, not solve, problems.
"One of the worst offenders for not stopping is stop signs. If they are installed where they are not warranted people would end up speeding through the stops," he says. "The way the stop signs placement works is to equalize the delays and all the approaches." This would mean studying the volume of traffic in all directions beforehand.
He adds he has seen municipalities make bad decision before. Even after a company like Voss's is hired to consult and offer a traffic plan, the community could decide to go another way.
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