SUMMERSIDE — Despite data indicating speeding is a problem at the intersection of Central Street and Walker Avenue, the city’s technical services department is not recommending a three-way stop be installed.
The department’s staff had been asked to look at the intersection after Coun. Frank Costa raised concerns about speeding in the area.
“That was one of the reasons they were asking for a stop sign ... was to slow down the traffic,” said Costa, who has received numerous complaints from his constituents.
“What takes precedent, flow or safety?”
Two traffic counters were installed at the intersection during the summer and it was found the average speed for outbound traffic was 60 kilometres per hour and, for inbound traffic, 56 km/h. The posted speed limit in the area is 50 km/h.
Traffic counters indicated about 30 per cent of the vehicles going through the intersection were travelling at speeds higher than 60 km/h.
But, said director Aaron MacDonald, installing a three-way stop would only cause traffic congestion in the area, adding the issue is one of enforcement.
He said about 8,000 vehicles a day travel south of the intersection, 4,400 vehicles north and about 5,000 vehicles travel Walker Avenue each day.
Department staff also studied wait times at the intersection during peak times — morning, noon and after work — of the day and found that the average wait for right-turning traffic going from Walker onto Central was about 5.6 seconds.
The average wait for vehicles turning left from Walker onto Central was 13.3 seconds while vehicles turning left from Central onto Walker waited 6.45 seconds.
With wait times minimal and given the volume of traffic, it was determined, from an engineering perspective, that no changes were needed at the intersection.
“What takes precedent, flow or safety?” - Coun. Frank Costa
MacDonald told the committee the intersection does not meet the criteria laid out in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices — the manual used by traffic authorities across the country — for a multi-way stop sign.
“It looks like more than half are going over the speed limit,” said Costa.
MacDonald confirmed that 72 per cent of the vehicles counted in the area were travelling faster than 50 km/h.
But, he added, only 15 per cent of those vehicles were travelling at what he deemed to be an excessive speed — more than 69 km/h.
But, when asked if technical services met with police services to discuss safety and enforcement in the area, MacDonald said no.
Committee Coun. Cory Thomas has raised concerns on numerous occasions about speed in the city, especially on Read Drive.
“Stats are showing here that there are problems and stop signs are not always going to solve that,” he added. “We need to look at more enforcement.”
A report on speed in various areas will be coming to council from the technical services department in the coming weeks.
“Here’s an example where, going forward, the engineers do the research and are basing it on speed counts and police make recommendations based on their views on safety,” said Thomas after the meeting.
“What I would like to see before any of these recommendations is that the two departments coming together. They may not always agree but come to some sort of consensus of what’s going to be brought to council.” He added,
“We didn’t get a recommendation from police on the safety of this area, though. They weren’t involved in the process.”
Thomas said council should not be deciding where stop signs go.