Thursday, December 27, 2012

Charleswood Traffic Part 1

The Corner of Grant and Shaftesbury
The corner of Laxdal and Grant
The Corner of Cathcart and Grant
On December 4 at the community committee for Assiniboia, the consultancy firm MMM submitted their report to the city in regards to traffic in Charleswood. This work is in preparation for the extension of the William R. Clement Parkway and development of housing in the area in the next several years.

As anyone on Grant Avenue will tell you, the street is becoming the main thoroughfare for the area and beyond. The sleeper communities of Headingley and other places that hug the Perimeter Highway use Grant/Roblin Boulevard as a speedway to get out of town.

The problem of course is that many schools, seniors homes, apartments and housing line the street which means 80 kms is out of the question. That doesn't mean people will not attempt to try.  Subsequently, there are above average accidents happening all along the street.

The IKEA Seasons of Tuxedo have had an immediate fallout for traffic along Shaftesbury Blvd. Despite changes to the intersection and a widening of the road on all sides to meet the now twinned Sterling Lyon Parkway, it doesn't address that Shaftesbury itself is only two lanes all the way to Assiniboine Park.

Holy crazy traffic and potential accidents! Shaftesbury and Grant Avenue is home to two schools, one university and one church and community hall. There are buses parked out on both sides of Grant and parents dropping kids off, people turning into the schools.

The recommendation from MMM is the build a $7 million twinning of Shaftesbury from Wilkes to Grant Avenue and monitor the intersection at the schools corner for further changes. One of the other recommendations is to twin Shaftesbury all the way to Assiniboine Park at Roblin Blvd.

As with all road improvements, the question has to be asked: If these changes are to be made, does it just increase traffic even more. The answer is probably yes.

The Canadian Mennonite University is already planning their response to the traffic along Grant. It is in the form of an overpass for a future building on the north side of the street.

Schools all over Winnipeg are running into the drop off and pick up issue with parents double and triple parking. Two to four buses can be parked on Grant Avenue waiting for students at the various schools on that corner.

Bower Street between Shaftesbury and St. Paul's High Schools

Seems to me the solution for the high schools is a bus loop, parent drop off and pick section on Bower. It is already used for that purpose. Get it done.

As for the university, ask them if they would like a bus loop along Shaftesbury on the north and south sides. Parents dropping off kids is less of a concern for that campus. However, good bus connections are always welcome.

And whether CMU knows it or not, they are going to lose their boulevard and maybe a small part of their lots when Shaftesbury is twinned.

Shaftesbury between CMU and Shaftesbury High School
As anyone can see, there is no room to widen to the east of Shaftesbury. This means it must happen west. Could the city sweeten the pot with bus loops for the campus students?

I am no traffic engineer but it seems that it is important to have good lines of sight all along an intersection with as many students as we see as well as bike and foot traffic headed to the park.

The solution is NOT high speed roads at that intersection in all directions. The solution will be to remove parked buses, parents dropping off kids and other road blocking impediments that cause people to change lanes erratically and blindly.

Continued in Part 2


Anonymous said...

It seems to me to twin Shaftsbury they would have to pave over part of the Assiniboine forest, which would set a bad precedent. The residents who live around there may not be thrilled either as the street becomes busier.

Anonymous said...

Do a little research. The land on the west side of Shaftsbury between Grand the Roblin is already owned by the city and was set aside for twinning decades ago.