Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Traffic and pedestrian safety concerns presented to Pincher Creek Town Council

Toni Lucas

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek held their regular meeting on Monday evening, May 9. Citizen Garry Cleland appeared before council to discuss traffic and pedestrian safety issues specifically for the west end of town around Canyon School and the Agricultural and Community Hall grounds. Cleland said a few of the safety considerations he was concerned about included a need for better centre lane markings along Canyon Drive alongside the agricultural grounds and entering Canyon Crescent, better signage in the area, and safer pathways directly to the school grounds.

 "I'm kind of an unwilling participant here this evening, because I never thought I would ever have to come before you with this. When I entered into all of the issues we had there with Laurie (Town CAO Laurie Wilgosh), it was understood they were pretty straightforward." He said he monitored area traffic for 2-3 months starting last May. "Of course, it is a year later."

Cleland said he had put together a 13 page submission plus a letter to Town bylaw officers dated October 13, 2015. "The cover letter that we sent with this explains the tests we did. We did tests with lines, tests with radar to see what the speeds were, what affected the speeds, what affected the traffic flow in the area... we, on our street and our crescent don't accept 50 kilometres as an acceptable norm for the speed." He further explained, "The letter from the residents was never intended to be a petition and was worded incorrectly. It was supposed to be a notice." Cleland said he had 39 individuals at Canyon Crescent agree to the statements in the notice. The notice included 5 suggestions for consideration:

1.) Signs - Add signs indicating 'no exit' at the intersections of Canyon Drive & Victoria Crescent and at the corner of Canyon Drive and Canyon Crescent.

2.) Lane markers - Lane lines at the tum of Main Street into Canyon Drive. Lane lines at the corner of Canyon Drive and Canyon Crescent.

3.) Speed limits - Reduce the speed on Canyon Drive in its entirety and establish a playground zone on Canyon Drive and Canyon Crescent.

4.) Sidewalks and pathways - Extend the gravel pathway from the end of Canyon Drive to the pathway at the rear of  (the) C. Price lot. This would be placed along the curb on the south side of Canyon Drive and extent to meet the path to the west.

5.) Turn around and the end of Canyon Drive - Increase the arch to the turnaround at the end of Canyon Drive south of the residential property there.

"All the issues that we submitted were factual issues in that area," Cleland said. adding the 13 pages of information took him months to gather. He said he received notice from the Director of Operations that three changes that will be upcoming or have happened in the area. "Not one of them is directly related to the submission. So it became obvious that the respect I still have for my representatives on council wasn't coming back to me, as a resident of town." Cleland said he was told he did not need to continue to gather signatures after he had been gathering signatures for a week, but was requested to to submit what he had already accumulated. Now there is work being done in the area and he does not think it brings value to the area. Of three new signs in the area Cleland said "It's an absolute waste, and we knew that going in. We knew that going in, because we tried the lines."

"We laid it all out in diagrams. I got no acknowledgement whatsoever of all that work. I've put tons and tons of time in, and I'm willing to do more, but there's got to be some answers. Since May of last year, not one person has come to me voluntarily to ask me about the safety issues we have here, not one person has come to say 'What do you mean by this, what do you mean by that?'." He said the area near the agricultural grounds is a busy place, with pathways that connect to streets and other factors making for a dangerous situation. "It's a zoo, and somebody's going to get hurt." He added later he believes, "The traffic is the same, it's dangerous."

First diagram of suggestions in package
"All that's happened is the new Town Bylaw Officer threatened me, 'Sign the piece of paper' and an RCMP Officer threatened me, to take me to court for public mischief because I put lane lines on the road, temporary ones. (I) Told him about it, and that's what came of it."

 Cleland would like to go through his concerns point by point with someone and get answers. "Otherwise, have them charge me with mischief. I was prepared to go to jail for this, I'm telling you now. I wasn't going to pay the $1,000 fine, I was going to go to jail for it, that's where I stood." "Those are people I pay taxes for, to protect me. Do you want a citizen, or citizens that want safe streets for all of us, or do you want anarchy on the streets? That's the biggest change that's come out of this for me, is is it's starting to be like anarchy out there."

"I am at the point now where (when) I leave here tonight I have to have closure of some kind on this. I have to find there is some closure on this, that somebody else cares about this, that it matters that Pincher is a town where the streets are safe."

Councillor Mark Barber asked how many people were exceeding the 50 kilometre speed limit. Cleland said "Fifty is ridiculous, you can't even turn it at fifty, you can't even turn the corner at 50. We tried it in three or four different vehicles. Just even going straight down a residential street at 50 kilometres is an absolute ridiculous situation." Cleland said that playground zones are not the only places children and pedestrians use the roadway. "It shouldn't be 50 to begin with, it's a nonsense argument, it really is, and that's how we feel. Now, do we have to get petitions?"

Second diagram of suggestions in package
Mayor Anderberg said he believes he has received an abridged version of the issues from the operations department, and was unsure if he has reviewed the full package that was sent in. "My own personal view is I want to see all the information." He said that the issue of lowering the speed limit for specific areas and for the town as a whole has been raised at council before. "What I am going to say is that we have a new (RCMP) Staff Sergeant here." He told Cleland the RCMP plan to do more traffic enforcement, and the town is getting speed signs that can capture data.

Cleland finished by saying, "All I'm asking for is the points we have submitted we would like responses back from the council members on each and every point. It's like I submitted nothing, and they are already spending money. No one is asking any questions either, and we live there. I sat out there for a month, monitoring out my livingroom window, not because I like to see who's going by, and it was bad. This is not just a problem in Canyon Drive, it's a problem in the whole town."

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