1. Intersection of 5th Street and 38th Ave in East Elbow Park
During rush hour, up to 1,000 non-resident drivers per week attempt to avoid standing in the long back up at the northbound traffic lights at the Sifton Blvd/Elbow Drive intersection by driving into East Elbow Park, executing illegal U-Turns and 3 point turns using residential driveways and alleyways and exiting the neighbourhood on 38th Ave. They are often speeding on 38th Ave to get back through the Elbow Drive lights, with many of them continuing up 38th Ave past Elbow Park school.
EPRA met with Counsellor Farkas along with our local police contact to follow up on our online application for a Traffic Study. We were informed that, until City Council makes a decision about City wide traffic speeds, all of their traffic studies are on hold. This is disappointing, as we have been attempting to get some assistance with this particular area for years.
Jeromy Farkas was, however, successful in assisting the EPRA Traffic Initiative Leads and the President to have a meeting with the City police and they were supportive by increasing their presence at this intersection, and in some cases have issued tickets. Unfortunately, their resources are stretched thin given the number of traffic concerns across the city, and this approach will likely be occasional rather than frequent. We will continue to work with our Councillor in an attempt to get a City Traffic Study completed in the area. The study will provide traffic measures to put in place in order to decrease the long lineups, improve moving traffic quickly through the intersection and decrease the temptation for this type of "cut through" community traffic.
In the meantime, we will continue to push for additional signage, a reduction in the residential speed limit and strategies that will discourage this type of driver behaviour.
We will continue to encourage our children to be extra-vigilant, particularly after school when this phenomenon is at its worst.
2. Speed and volume of traffic along 38th Ave West of Elbow Drive
Thirty eighth avenue from Elbow Drive to where it intersects with Sifton near 14th Street has seen increased volume of fast moving through traffic. Although a police check has confirmed that people are driving within the 50 km residential speed limit, many residents are concerned that the combination of speed and volume is unsafe for this residential street that has an elementary school, playground, steep hill, no sidewalk on one side for a section of this street as well as a number of driveways exiting directly onto the street.
This issue is particularly of concern at rush hour. In order to avoid the light at Sifton Blvd drivers heading north on Elbow Drive will turn right onto 38th Ave into East Elbow Park, make a U-turn and then drive up 38th Ave. This behaviour increases the amount of traffic that passes by Elbow Park school, placing children at higher risk.
We collected signatures from residents along 38th Ave SW and submitted the signatures and a formal request for a Traffic Study to the City. Along with the EPRA Lead from East Elbow Park and the President of ERPA, we met with Counsellor Farkas along with our local police contact to follow up on our application for a Traffic Study and consideration of mitigation measures.
The police have been helpful and monitored speed on 38th but concluded that speeding (over 50 km) is not an issue. This may have been a result of the time of day they monitored which was not at the peek time. They will continue to monitor and we have encouraged them to do so during rush hour since this is the time of day when the problem is the worst.
EPRA has submitted a request to the City Transportation department in March 2019 and we have been told that nothing will be done until City Council makes a decision about City wide speed limit changes. City Council has recently reassigned the funds for the speed limit assessment and we await to hear how that decision will impact traffic study process.
We will also look at other community strategies that can encourage driver behaviour changes such as an event around painting the street.
3. 36th Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets at William Reid School
Due to high volume traffic at drop off and pick up times this area is highly congested. Many parents and children do not use the crosswalks or corners to safely cross the road, with parked cars on both sides of the narrow street and on the corners of the street, this area is unsafe during this time. For the remainder of the day, there is not an issue with this area.
EPRA had submitted a request to have a traffic study completed in March 2019. There are two bulbs on the corner of 36th Street and 12th Street, that were installed many years ago and are very effective in keeping cars away from the crosswalk and providing improved visibility of pedestrians crossing. The Parent Council of William Reid has suggested that the City add two more bulbs at the intersection of 36th Avenue and 11th Street, to improve safety at that corner, which does not currently have crosswalk markings.
In the spring of 2019, the parent council along with neighbours on 11th Street met and decided to chalk a crosswalk on the 11th Street intersection and place reflective cones at the corners where the crosswalk would be installed. Immediately this initiative eliminated illegal parking on the corners and the parents and students used the crosswalk to safely cross the street.
Currently, the William Reid Parent Council have permanently placed reflective cones at the the corners of 11th Street and 36th Avenue.
On April 9, 2019, a 311 service request was placed to have the City paint crosswalks on this intersection. As we received no response from the City regarding this request we forwarded this information to Councillor Farkas on November 5, 2019 and received a call from Monique Castonguay, Transportation Engineer from the City. After a lengthy discussion Monique assured me that the area would be reviewed in the spring of 2020 under the Active and Safe Routes to School program.
On December 13, 2019, Jen Malzer, City Transportation Engineer, sent an email stating that the City is starting to work with William Reid School and is hoping to identify infrastructure improvements and then fund the changes. EPRA has not received any further updates from William Reid Parent Council or the City of Calgary regarding the crosswalks and will follow up with this in March 2020.
Historically William Reid School had a small boundary area (1.2 kms distance from the school) and was a K-6 school where students walked to school. When the CBE opened the boundary to a larger area, (north to the Bow River, east to McLeod Trail, south to Glenmore Trail and west to Crowchild Trail), the school now accepted students from communities such as Downtown/Beltline, Inglewood, Altadore and Garrison Woods. The school has now become K-4 due to capacity issues, with the 5-6 grades now placed at Elboya School. The school is serviced by two school buses. In 2017 the school hours were changed to align with Junior High school bussing and the school now starts at 8:05 am, instead of 9:00am. Since the school start time change many parents do not use the bussing and choose to drive their children to the school for drop off and pick up. There are 286 students at the school and fewer than 25% ride the bus to school as parents feel it is inconvenient and too early for the children to use in the morning. Contact Martina Walsh about this initiative.