Bigger and better roads

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I was at the Glenmore community association meeting last week and overheard an older lady talking about Mountain Ave. and the “barriers” that the City had recently installed.  She was most unhappy with these as they forced cars to slow down when going through two narrowed areas.

Another lady responded that the City had put in barriers to narrow the two lanes and slow traffic but also to encourage drivers to use more direct routes.  She explained that the recent construction on High Rd. had brought a lot of extra traffic to Mountain Ave. and the traffic calming measures were put in to discourage that traffic from using Mountain.  I note that there is now a speed bump at the Glenmore end of Mountain.

If I lived along Mountain Ave or on a nearby street I would be most happy to have the traffic calming devices installed.  Isn’t it reasonable to slow traffic in our residential neighborhoods and other areas.  Asking the general public at large to slow down and be more mindful of others is not effective – building roads so that they have no choice is effective.

Other people at the meeting were very interested in having more and bigger roads built in the Glenmore area.  No one mentioned other methods of transportation including encouragement for cycling, walking and transit.   Demand management just does not seem to be on the radar screens of local citizens or of the City.  I suspect that our local politicians reflect the attitude of the general public and seldom lead.

I have noticed that building bigger and better roads does not present a long term solution to automobile gridlock.  We have several routes the length of the Valley (Springfield, Hwy 97, Enterprise, Glenmore and the partially completed COB) – they are all very busy for long periods of each day.  Will building more of these improve the situation?  I doubt it.  The people advocating for bigger and faster roads never want them to be built at their front doors.

Perhaps the answer is to back off on the road building and look at our other options – attractive off road paths for cycling and walking (and skateboards etc), better transit including street cars, smaller local buses, light transit, less urban sprawl and providing services closer to residential areas.

Have you noticed that very few bike routes are built that are not directly associated to a motor vehicle road building project? Often, as will be the case with the UBCO flyover project, the bike/pedestrian portion of the project is built long after the motor vehicle portion is complete.

John.

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