City, province already planning ahead for projected doubling of vehicle traffic
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Proposed developments for East Royalty in the next 13 years.
One of the major entry points into the City of Charlottetown is going to get much busier, and it’s encouraging to see that both the municipality and the province are planning for the projected huge increase in traffic. A traffic study was the subject of a public meeting in East Royalty this week, where residents were forewarned that developments and vehicles are about to explode in their community.
East Royalty has some of the most attractive land for development left in the greater Charlottetown area. Earlier this year, plans were unveiled about a major development near L.M. Montgomery school. Anyone driving on St. Peters Road is aware of the construction already proceeding across from Mel’s southwards towards the soccer fields area.
The city and province are trying to get ahead of the process with long-term planning to avoid errors that might have occurred along other major entry points into the city. It’s best to get it right the first time and avoid scrambling to deal with traffic problems in 10 years.
It was not that long ago that morning rush hour traffic heading into the city via St. Peters Road hit a major bottleneck, starting farther back each year until vehicles started to stop almost at the York Road intersection. When you add into the equation poor weather in the winter, or school buses picking up children, it became a nightmare. Commuters had to start leaving earlier and earlier to get to work on time.
The issue was greatly eased by a major re-design of the intersection at the KFC corner, where two left turning lanes were added onto the bypass, a right turning lane towards the arterial/airport and a straight lane into Sherwood made a dramatic difference for everyone coming from the east where the only entry into Charlottetown is via St. Peters Road.
Already, East Royalty traffic flow is unacceptably slow during peak hours for vehicles trying to get on or off St. Peters Highway from Norwood Road, Oakland Drive, MacRae Drive and Robertson Road. Anyone slipping into Mel’s for a morning coffee knows only too well how long the wait is to ease back onto St. Peters Road and proceed into the city. Suburban commuters exiting off side streets depend largely on the goodwill of drivers on St. Peters Road to stop and go and allow traffic to proceed.
It’s projected that over 1,128 new units will be constructed in the city neighbourhood, doubling the traffic volume on St. Peters Road by 2026. Traffic will grow on the road to as many as 1,900 vehicles per hour by the time the proposed developments are completed in East Royalty, nearly a doubling of current traffic volumes on the roadway.
One thing is for sure. With that much traffic trying to get onto St Peters Road, there will be more traffic lights, more stop signs, more merging, roundabouts and slower access into the city. Controlling the delays and facilitating traffic volumes at peak hours in the morning and evening commutes will be the biggest challenge for planners.
The report says that the best solution is to make St. Peters Road a four-lane highway, with two lanes in each direction. Someone is going to be losing front yards, ditches and sidewalks by the time this is over.
Residents heard Monday night that development is swallowing up their quiet neighborhoods. Slowly but surely farmland is being squeezed out and urban development is taking over. It’s inevitable but such is the price of progress.