Feedback positive for 6 Ave. [City of Lethbridge transportation] plan

[Reproduced from the Lethbridge Herald, June 20, 2015]

By Villeneuve, Melissa, mvilleneuve@lethbridgeherald.com

Residents had the chance to review design concepts and provide feedback for 6 Avenue South, from Scenic Drive to Mayor Magrath Drive, at a public forum on Wednesday, as the City of Lethbridge completes its planning study.

About 150 people attended the third and final public feedback session in the city hall foyer. Information on the progress of the London Road Neighbourhood Area Redevelopment Plan was also available, as both projects are inter-related.

The goal of the study is to develop a long-term plan for one of the city’s main arteries to accommodate future growth, while respecting the community’s vision for the corridor.

Traffic volume, pedestrian safety and population growth are all factors taken into consideration.

The feedback from residents for the proposed design was mostly positive, according to Ahmed Ali, Transportation manager, City of Lethbridge.

“We do planning exercises for all arterial roads once in seven to 10 years to see what the current situation is and what it needs, if any implements, in the next 20 to 30 years. Currently our planning horizon is 130,000 population.”

As the westside is developing, there are more opportunities for citizens to work, play and shop. Traffic volume on 6 Avenue South is projected to decrease by 10 per cent, he explained, as people won’t need to travel east for services as often.

“Therefore there’s no need for adding lanes or drastic improvements on 6 Avenue South, but we also need to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists more safely.”

Proposed long-term solutions include providing a one-way protected bike lane and a separate sidewalk, with a plan to rehabilitate trees along the avenue.

Short-term improvements for pedestrian and cyclist safety include building curb extensions, to increase corner vision for motorists. The city also intends to relocate or improve several pedestrian crossings, and create a bike boulevard on 7 Avenue South with a reduced speed limit and mini roundabouts.

“With all those physical and visual measures, we’ll try to slow down the traffic and make cyclists and pedestrians a priority on that street,” said Ali.

The results of the sessions will be analyzed and presented to council in the fall.

Improvements are expected to be made gradually over the next five years.

For more information, or to provide feedback online, visit http://www.lethbridge.ca/getinvolved.