Strathcona traffic already dropping before April 1 protest, more action promised

City traffic calming on Prior St., implemented in response to council direction last summer, was producing significant reductions in volume even before the April 1 protest by the Strathcona Residents Association, according to a memo circulated to council today by Brian Jackson, general manager of planning and development services.

The Strathcona Residents Association has been demanding a range of measures to reduce traffic volumes when (and if) the city decides to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts.

But Jackson’s note sets out a number of improvements that are already producing results, all of which were communicated to the SRA before the April 1 protest, including:

  • relaxed parking restrictions on the north side of Prior;
  • improved pedestrian safety measures at eight signalized intersections in the neighbourhood; and
  • improved safety trough a larger, brighter traffic light at Prior and Campbell.

After the changes, daily vehicle volumes dropped from about 30,000 in June 2012 to 23,000 to 25,000 in December 2012 and February 2013.

Despite two recent serious accidents along Prior, ICBC analysis shows the number of collisions dropped 50 percent along Prior and Venables between Gore and Vernon between 2007 and 2011, a period that saw a city-wide decline of only 20 percent.

Contrary to reports that removal of the Viaducts would produce more lanes of traffic linked to Prior, the city showed the SRA detailed plans that meet two key concerns:

  • the number of the lanes between Main and Gore is limited to four lanes in the proposed road if the Viaducts are removed, the same number as Prior today, which would retain its parking regulations; and
  • an enhanced boulevard is proposed between Main and Quebec, where townhouses now overlook an impoundment lot.

City staff also agreed to a safety audit for the neighbourhood and longer-term planning as part of the Eastern Core strategy.