During the summer of 2015, the Ward 1 office began receiving increasing complaints about southbound traffic congestion at the intersection of 85th Street & 48th Avenue NW during the morning peak traffic period. The backlogs to this 3-way stop were partially attributable to traffic that would normally use the Stoney Trail & TransCanada Highway route to the inner city finding out that the construction of the Bowfort Road/TransCanada highway interchange was slowing their commute down, and opting to finding alternate routes that did not take as long. One of the alternate routes was through Bowness. Councillor Sutherland relayed these concerns to The City of Calgary, Roads Traffic Division, and in response they conducted an extensive safety and operational review for that intersection. They found the following –
• A three-way stop control warrant review was completed, and based on traffic counts from April 23, 2014, it was determined that a three-way stop control was not warranted at the intersection
• A review of collision history revealed that 9 collisions were reported near the intersection of 85th & 48th in the past 9 years and that there were no fatalities or injury collisions. All 9 were property damage only and no pedestrians or bicycles were involved in the collisions.
Based on results from the review, it was determined that a 3-way stop control was not warranted due to the relatively low traffic volume on 48th Avenue. In an effort to enhance traffic operations and minimize traffic congestion on 85th Street at 48th Avenue, the Traffic Division recommended the following intersection improvements:
• Remove the 3-way stop control from the intersection. 85th Street traffic would be free-flow, and 48th Avenue would be stop-controlled
• Install a pedestrian crosswalk on the north side of the intersection, crossing 85th Street
• Install “Ladder” pedestrian crosswalk road markings, and Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons (RRFB’s) at the crosswalk to enhance pedestrian safety crossing 85th Street.
Councillor Sutherland has been continuing to follow up with the Roads Traffic Division ever since the stop signs were removed. Throughout this challenging time he has been sensitive to the complaints and concerns of the citizens most affected by the removal, especially those residing on, or adjacent to 48th Avenue. The re-opening of Bowness Park, while a positive event for Bowness, has unfortunately added to the local traffic situation, especially on the weekends during the summer. With the long-anticipated opening of the splash park next spring, it is projected that the amount of traffic will become even more challenging for residents, and vehicles coming and going to the Park will face even more frustration. Please know that Councillor Sutherland is working on the parking/traffic situation within and outside the Park as a “separate but connected” issue, through a joint task force between the City Parks and Roads Departments. Watch for a localized public engagement notice to residents in the affected area later this year.
After a second review of traffic data, it was determined the intersection does not require a 3 way stop; however, it continues to fail during busy weekends. After much deliberation and review of alternatives, the Roads Division believe they have found a viable solution which will meet all the stakeholders’ requirements and expectations. Councillor Sutherland was able to source the funding for a new traffic signal
(also known as traffic light or signal light) which will be installed at the intersection of 48th & 85th
in Spring 2017
. In order to best serve the needs of through traffic and still protect the needs of the local residents, the traffic signal will be what is called an actuated traffic signal
. Through the use of pedestrian pushbuttons and vehicle detection cables embedded in the road surface, the signal will be able to respond to actual vehicle and pedestrian demands. For example, at times when there are no vehicles on 48 Avenue at the intersection or no pedestrians wishing to cross 85 Street, the signal will remain green for 85 Street to reduce delay for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians travelling along that roadway. This way, exiting vehicles on 48th will only have to wait for the sensor to detect them before the lights will automatically be programmed to change. When there is no traffic leaving, the through traffic on 85th will have a constant green, and will be able to flow through without any backlogs forming.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.