by Colin Smith
The possible installation of traffic lights at the 100 Avenue and Grandin Drive intersection is now on the table following a decision by Town Council at its March 10 meeting.
Councill voted in favour of a motion by Councillor Stephen Dafoe directing the Administration to come up with a cost estimate for installing the lights.
They are also to produce an advocacy plan to get the provincial government to pay for the installation in whole or on a cost-sharing basis with Morinville, with the Town’s portion to potentially be derived from future automated enforcement revenues.
The Administration is to report back to Council in June, and at that time “may present Council with alternatives to addressing and enhancing traffic congestion and pedestrian safety at the intersection.”
“We know what the traffic situation there is,” Dafoe said in opening debate on the motion. “The sooner we can move this conversation on down the road the better it is.”
Mayor Barry Turner however argued that it would be better to wait for the new Traffic Master Plan for Morinville to be delivered in April before moving ahead on the intersection.
“We don’t have enough information to support moving forward with this intersection as our next top-priority,” he said. “The last study carried out there indicated that no action was required.”
Speaking against the motion, Councillors Sarah Hall and Nicole Boutestein agreed that more information is needed.
Boutestein also pointed out that Council recently heard from a traffic consultant who stated that the best way to go is not traffic lights but roundabouts.
“I do want us to look at roundabouts and stay away from traffic lights,” she said.
Deputy Mayor Scott Richardson stated that he would be supporting the motion.
“I’ve had a number of complaints on this intersection,” he said. “It may not be a priority for some of the studies we’ve had done. I think the people using the intersection think it’s a priority and they’re the people who voted us into power.”
Councillor Rebecca Balanko said this intersection is the number one source of complaints she receives. She said that if it is a matter of developing a plan rather than necessarily executing it, there is no harm in it.
Receiving the information about installation costs was also supported by Councillor Lawrence Giffin.
“I believe this is in line with our duties to be informed,” Giffin said.
“I think we need to move this ball a little further so that we have some of the additional data that the Transportation Master Plan is not going to provide and chief of that is the cost,” Dafoe said by way of closing.
The vote was called and the motion passed four to three, with Dafoe, Robertson, Balanko, and Giffin in favour, and Turner, Hall, and Boutestein opposed.