District of Squamish considering traffic calming at Highlands Way North | Squamish Chief

District of Squamish considering traffic calming at Highlands Way North

Speeding vehicles have been an issue in the school zone

The District is proposing traffic calming methods for a busy road right by Garibaldi Highlands Elementary, which has drawn much concern from parents.

Highlands Way North has been the subject of frequent complaints from residents about drivers exceeding the speed limit on that road.

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On May 12, municipal staff presented to council several options that could reduce the speed and number of vehicles passing on the street. There was also some discussion about Perth Drive, which has also been an area of concern.

Dora Gunn, a sustainability co-ordinator with the District, said this has been an area that has already drawn the attention from the municipality.

"Our initial evaluation showed that the area did warrant additional attention, so we moved to education and enforcement," said Gunn.

"We've had the speed reader board up several occasions on both streets, we've improved the school zone signage, we've created a bike lane with no-parking signs on Highlands Way North on one side, and the RCMP has also conducted education and enforcement. Despite all this though, our most recent evaluations show that Highlands Way North had quite a high volume of traffic."

She said that there are about 1,900 vehicles that drive up and down Highlands Way North each day.

Throughout the day, about 85% of those are going 49 kilometres per hour or less.

This wouldn't normally be a problem, said Gunn, except that the road is right by Garibaldi Elementary. The road has a 30-kilometre speed limit due to its closeness to the school.

Perth Drive sees about 1,300 vehicles each day, with 85% of them going at 58 kilometres per hour or slower.

street sign
Source: Jennifer Thuncher

 

As a result, staff presented several possible solutions.

The first two items were actions staff said could be undertaken in the short term.

The first proposal was to slow traffic by constructing two raised crosswalks and one speed table on Highlands Way North.

Speed tables are long, raised speed bumps with a flat section in the middle and usually ramps on the ends.

The raised crosswalks and speed table together will generally slow traffic, reads a staff report, but drainage may be an issue. There are also concerns about possible noise from the speed tables and raised crosswalks. Among other issues, is that this measure won't slow all types of vehicles.

The second proposal would cut down on the number of vehicles by closing off Pitlochry Way at Pia Road to regular traffic.

As a result, this would make residents on lower Pia Road, Bluebird Place, Jay Crescent and Condor Road travel to and from their homes via Perth Drive rather than Highlands Way North, a staff report reads. The design of the road closure would allow access for emergency and maintenance vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists.

This would reduce traffic, but may inconvenience residents in the affected area.

Staff said the third and fourth proposals were actions that could be done in the longer term.

The third idea was to build a multi-use path on the east side of the road. This would narrow the road, which could contribute to slower speeds, while also providing a safer route to school. However, it is a pricey option that could cost between $250,000 to $300,000. It may also limit or remove street parking.

Finally, the last proposal would involve re-configuring the intersection at Highlands Way North and Portree Way by removing the right turn lane. This would slow traffic at the intersection but would cost $80,000 to $120,000. It would also not slow traffic further down Highlands Way.

For Perth Drive, staff are considering a multi-use path, sidewalk or separated walking area. More details still have to be determined.

Gunn said the municipality could use one or a combination of the options.

The municipality will be seeking public feedback on these suggestions later this year. After that, staff will take the feedback and finalize their plans.

 

 

 

 

 

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