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May 07, 2006

Making a Small Difference

In early 2003 a new set of traffic lights were installed on my route to work on Waverley between Bishop Grandin and Scurfield. I noticed that I was always stopping for them, even though there was no cross traffic. I eventually noticed that the left turn signal was activated each time. I reported this to the traffic control branch and they responded immediately and installed an electronic monitor on the intersection. A week later they said they had found that cross traffic does have excessive amounts of green, especially the left turn lane and dispatched a repair crew. By the next week a faulty lane sensor in the left turning lane was fixed and the intersection stopped being an issue. In the summer of 2005 I found another problematic intersection, Silver Avenue at Madison Street. Silver has become a major interconnect between the high traffic of Century and St James streets. Prior to the railroad being removed, Silver didn't connect the two streets and as such it was a quiet area with some residential and light industrial. The remnants of that was a four way stop sign that greatly impeded traffic on Sliver for no reason. After reporting this, the traffic division spent several months researching the issue and came to the same conclusions:

The vehicular traffic flow on Silver Avenue represents 92% of the total approach volume at this intersection and does not meet the warrant for four-way stop control ... Consequently, the four-way stop control unduly penalizes the majority of intersection users by creating frequent, unnecessary stops, thereby resulting in delay, back-up and a higher potential for rear-end collisions.
They also found that several accidents occurred at the intersection and that the stop signs were placed too close to other traffic controls on nearby intersections, leading to distraction, frustration and confusion. I drove through there this week and the stop signs have now been removed.

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