SUNDRE — The municipality is exploring an option to improve traffic flow through the school zone at the intersection of Centre Street and 2nd Avenue NW.
The proposed pilot plan involves the temporary installation of three-way stop signs, where currently there is only one stop sign for motorists attempting to turn onto Centre Street from 2nd Avenue. During peak times, turning onto Centre Street can be difficult, resulting in traffic back-up and delays, reads a portion of a press statement issued early last week.
“It just came up over the course of the last part of the summer and early fall right around the beginning of school,” said Kevin Heerema, community peace officer, when asked during a phone interview how long the plan had been under consideration.
“That whole intersection there can line up in whatever direction, depending on which way people are coming or going (and) depending on the peak time,” said Heerema.
Asked whether the pilot plan was drafted as a result of community complaints or undertaken by the municipality’s own initiative, he said, “It was kind of a combination of everything — it was something we recognized before. I’ve seen the issues there.”
If traffic congestion was just the occasional one-off because of an event such as the pro rodeo, then perhaps having somebody physically directing traffic for those occasions might suffice, he said.
“But if there’s consistently traffic issues there, then that — to me — just identifies the need for some type of traffic control, not necessarily just a person standing there directing traffic.”
The plan is to run the pilot for at least two weeks to assess the effectiveness. The success, or possibly failure, will be measured based not only on physically monitoring the intersection to determine whether congestion is alleviated and traffic flow improved, but also on public input, he said.
“If there’s a lot of public outcry, that’s going to have a huge impact on whether or not it goes forward," he said.
If the trial proves to be unsuccessful, the stop signs will promptly be removed. If the pilot shows promise, it will remain for at least another month to allow people to become more accustomed to the layout before being reassessed. If it works well and does not cause further issues, it could become permanent, reads the press release.
“It could increase safety too, just with pedestrians crossing in that area, so that’s another benefit of it. That would be at any time of the day, not just during peak times at the school,” said Heerema.
Asked whether people would throughout the pilot's duration be either warned or ticketed for violations like rolling through the stop, he said, “The focus is not enforcement or anything like that. But obviously, stop signs and intersections present a huge safety concern.”
So although the three-way stop “will be enforced in an appropriate manner, it’s not being put in place in order for enforcement to take action. It’s to help traffic movement.”
Prior to proceeding with the installation of the stop signs, the town is seeking input.
“We’re not running an open house for it. What we’ve done is set up an email address to the town. That information will be collected and used to determine whether or not it’ll become a permanent fixture.”
People are encouraged to email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.