© Nigel Armstrong - The Guardian
Jeff Ward, senor planner with McCormick Rankin consulting firm reviews a traffic study done for East Royalty and St. Peters Road.
Traffic congestion is one of the bigger issues on the minds of residents living in East Royalty.
The City of Charlottetown hosted a public meeting at the Malcolm Darrach Centre on Tuesday night and it was standing-room only as the municipality moves towards a new Official Plan.
The purpose of these neighbourhood meetings is to try and tailor the Official Plan so it meets the needs of each section of the city, rather than one plan for the entire city.
The Planning Partnership of Toronto is leading the process, proposing changes for the city to consider.
East Royalty is one of the more prominent areas of the city when it comes to this process because there is so much undeveloped land. While the neighbourhood’s population sits at roughly 6,000 people now it’s expected to grow to upwards of 17,000 people within the next 15 to 20 years.
That has residents in the area concerned about the toll that will take on St. Peter’s Road with people at the meeting essentially giving the city the message that if they think it’s busy now, just wait.
“Basically what the consultant was trying to do was try and find some alternate routes to get people in and out of East Royalty, besides St. Peter’s Road,’’ said Coun. Jason Coady, chairman of the advanced planning and priorities committee that is leading the process to reboot the Official Plan.
There was talk about St. Peter’s Road not being wide enough with some interested in having it widened. There were also questions about roundabouts and traffic lights.
Coady said widening the highway isn’t going to be an option anytime soon.
“That’s all going to be dictated on where the development is in East Royalty, how quickly it comes.’’
Stephen Yeo, chief engineer with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, said more development can occur before major improvements need to be made to St. Peter's Road, which is a provincial highway.
"A traffic stidy by the department and the city concluded that St. Peter's Road can handle more capacity through East Royalty,'' Yeo said. "Up to 100 more units can be added before any highway upgrades must be made, although intersection upgrades will be required as development moves in.''
Yeo said the province will work with the city to decide when and where any upgrades wil occur.
As far as getting people around the community, The Planning Partnership seems keen on sustainability, things like connector routes, sidewalks and transit, for example. Avoid things like cul-de-sacs and dead-ends.
“He was big on a walking radius that people could walk to get services as opposed to having to drive,’’ Coady said, referring to Ron Palmer of the Toronto consulting firm.
The Lewis Brothers proposal for 100 acres in the community did come up but this process isn’t designed to talk about specific zoning issues. This is more big picture stuff.
Even though Tuesday’s meeting was to discuss the final draft master plan, Coady feels pretty confident they’ll be going back to residents before anything is finalized.
Coady said his committee will discuss what they heard, take it to council and city staff and determine if and when they should go back to residents.