Council approves crossing beacons at Morinville Community High School

by Colin

Rectangular rapid flashing beacons are going to be installed at the Morinville Community High School and 100 Avenue pedestrian crosswalk in an effort to improve safety.

At its regular meeting, Tuesday council approved the purchase and installation of the beacons, along with updated black and white crossing signs.

Mayor Simon Boersma passed the council chair to Deputy Mayor Ray White so he could himself make the motion to go forward with the installation.

“I think it is so important,” Boersma said. “I think the welfare of our community is at stake. What has to happen is that our kids are safe on a daily basis.”

The motion passed unanimously.

The cost for the installation is expected to be $20,000, including $6,000 each for three flashing beacons and $400 each for four signs.

The installation will require approval from Alberta Transportation, typically a six to eight-week process, ordering and delivery are estimated at six weeks, and the installation process will take about a week.

Council had also been presented with another option, which was to remove the crosswalk.

While that option was rejected, Deputy Mayor Ray White suggested it might be something to consider if signals are installed at the Grandin Drive and 100 Avenue intersection.

Meanwhile, planning projects are underway this year for the intersections of Grandin and 100 Avenue and Cardiff Road and 100 Street, with the public getting a chance to have their say about them.

Infrastructure Services Manager Jordan Betteridge provided town council with a report on the state of these planning projects at the council meeting.

“We are now at a stage where we would like to provide available options and collect public feedback,” Betteridge said.

A public house on the proposed intersection improvements is scheduled for October 26, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre.

Following the open house an online survey up for two weeks will enable those people not able to attend the event to make their views known.

“On completion of the open house, our consultants hope to finish their part and work toward buy-in from Alberta Transportation,” said Betteridge. “We’re then aiming toward early 2023 to go to council with a presentation of the report and the next steps.”

A planning project was needed because of previous studies and decisions, as well as the involvement of Alberta Transportation.

Studies indicated that roundabouts are the preferred option for intersection upgrades, but the subsequent 2020 Transportation Master Plan recommended that the idea of roundabouts be revisited to determine if that is still the case.

Any planned improvements to the intersections will require Alberta Transportation approval since they fall within the department’s jurisdiction and development control zone.

Alberta Transportation policy is that roundabouts are the first option for intersection upgrades, unless it is proven through proper documentation that a different treatment is recommended.

“Since Alberta Transportation has approval authority, we need to work through their processes and gain their approval,” said Betteridge. “If we proceed too far down a path without approval in principle from Alberta Transportation we’ll risk having to do costly work over again at a later date.”

Councillor Stephen Dafoe, who had given notice of making a motion directing the mayor to reach out to Alberta Transportation with a proposal for cost-shared signalization of the 100 Avenue and Grandin intersection, asked Betteridge what he thought the departmental reaction would be to this approach.

He stated that the department would probably reply that they wanted to see Morinville’s planning study.

Later in the meeting, Dafoe asked for consideration of the motion by council to be postponed to its November 8 meeting.

He also had the consideration of another motion, dealing with responses to resident and media emails, postponed due to time constraints until the October 25 Council.

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