Brandon motorists will soon have a smoother drive, thanks to some upcoming traffic changes.
The first involves east-west traffic at the intersection of 10th Street and Park Avenue where there will now be a designated left-turn lane, and a lane for traffic travelling straight or turning right.
Currently, drivers going straight have to wait for those turning left, which can cause an "unnecessary" delay, says Coenraad Fourie, the city’s manager of development and transportation.
"Especially in your morning peaks when it’s fairly busy, that can become quite a delay," he said.
Fourie said the city hopes to get the new lanes and arrows painted on the intersection this week. Additional changes to the north-south flow of traffic at the intersection will be considered in the future.
"We will significantly increase the capacity of the intersection and improve the driving experience for people using that intersection," Fourie said.
The changes to 10th and Park come just two and a half weeks after Coun. Murray Blight (Victoria) inquired at city council about congestion at the intersection.
In an official response to the councillor’s inquiry, dated Aug. 25, Fourie wrote that the intersection was much better than a desirable level of service, saying that a traffic study had found it was performing at a level of A, or excellent, for most of the day, with peak periods during the morning and afternoon commutes, and during the noon hour, seeing B levels of service.
Fourie wrote that anything better than D is "widely considered desirable in an urban area during peak traffic periods."
On Wednesday, Fourie said the decision to make the changes at the intersection came after realizing it is not functioning at capacity.
"Even though the level of service is somewhat acceptable for city standards, it was also evident we have an unnecessarily high average delay because of the way the lanes are laid out," he said. "Even though the intersection can function fine as it is right now, we thought it would be best to improve it even more."
Meanwhile, the city is also planning to implement traffic light synchronization along major arterial routes, based on recommendations from a traffic study conducted in partnership with Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation.
The synchronization will be implemented along First Street, 18th Street, Victoria Avenue and Richmond Avenue.
"In off-peak traffic times it will improve the mobility of people," Fourie said.
If people drive slightly below the speed limit, Fourie says they should be able to go along almost the entire length of the road without having to stop.
These changes will affect the timing offsets only, to allow a better flow of traffic along an entire stretch of roadway. There will be no changes to the actual length of time of traffic signal lights.
The city originally planned to implement the signal timing changes this month; however, due to ongoing construction on Victoria Avenue, Fourie expects it will be in place in mid- to late October.
» email@example.com, with files from Grant Hamilton
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