To address the ongoing safety concerns at 18th Street North and Braecrest Drive, two short-term solutions are being considered: reducing the speed limit and adding flashing lights.
North Hill residents recently attended an Assiniboine Ward meeting where the issue was discussed.
"These are suggestions that are coming right from the residents themselves, so I certainly will share that with Manitoba Infrastructure and see what we can come up with," said Patrick Pulak, director of engineering services and water resources.
While the City of Brandon is the traffic authority for the area, 18th Street is under the jurisdiction of Manitoba Infrastructure, so any changes would have to come from the direction of the province.
Pulak said he would like to see some of the short-term solutions implemented in the "next month or two," but it would all depend on discussions with provincial authorities.
"At the very least, put in some flashing lights to indicate that it can be a dangerous intersection," he said. "That to me is something we can do in the fairly short term."
Further consideration will be put into the idea of reducing the speed limit. Currently, it is 70 km/h on 18th Street North.
"It sounds intuitive that would help, but I know it does create its own problems," Pulak said. "When people are going faster, you actually have more time to then enter that intersection and turn left onto 18th. When traffic is slower, the opportunities aren’t as great."
Any decision will have to be a balance of making it safe, while still being a functional intersection.
A longer-term plan is for the city to conduct a joint study with MI and Assiniboine Community College on the Braecrest Drive corridor, including the intersections at 18th Street and First Street.
"I think there’s the political will power to get it done, and I certainly know council’s on board," Pulak said. "That’s certainly something we’re going to be tackling this year — trying to get an agreement and get the study underway."
The intersection has been the topic of many complaints over the years. Many residents have spoken out about the danger it presents for both motorists and pedestrians.
Excessive speed is an issue, and navigating a left turn from Braecrest Drive can be risky.
Motorists often seem confused as to who should go first, or ignore the traffic rules out of frustration. There are no pedestrian crossings.
Last November, a serious car crash at that intersection claimed the life of an 84-year-old woman.
Coun. Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine) said he’s in support of the two ideas being explored.
"If engineering staff and traffic people think that would work, I’m all up for trying it," he said. "As a politician, I’m looking for ideas from people that know better than me. Though of some of the ideas I’ve heard, those certainly do sound like some of the most reasonable interim plans."
A spokesman with Manitoba Infrastructure confirmed the province is working with the city on a joint planning strategy, which will include a speed limit review. The planning session is slated to begin this spring.
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