New lights about pedestrians, not vehicles, says Ward 8 councillor

Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski, pictured at Monday’s city council meeting, said installing lights at the Sixth Avenue West and 28th Street West intersection is about protecting pedestrians, not helping traffic flow. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald.

Prince Albert city councillors have voted to add another set of traffic lights to the city’s West Hill area after concerns about pedestrian safety.

On Monday, councillors voted 5-3 in favour of installing new lights at Sixth Avenue West and 28th Street West. The intersection sits near Arthur Pechey Public School, and is several blocks away from Ecole St. Anne and the West Hill Community Club.

Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski was the biggest supporter of the motion. He said the decision was recommended in the city’s Transportation Master Plan, and recommended council follow that suggestion.

“There’s some value in following those guidelines, and the guidelines were to put up a set of lights at Sixth and 28th,” he said.

According to a traffic volume study commissioned by the city in 2016, the intersection in question receives roughly 10,000 vehicles daily along 28th street, and roughly 5,000 along Sixth Avenue, making it the second busiest intersection in Prince Albert without a set of lights. That’s still well below the busiest city intersections, which can see more than 40,000 vehicles in a day.

However, Zurakowski said it’s foot traffic he’s concerned about, not cars.

“If you’ve driven that roadway, sure, it’s two, three, four, maybe five vehicles deep, but it’s not for your convenience as a driver,” he explained. “It’s for the kids attending Arthur Pechey, St. Anne school and the West Hill Community Club, which is a high traffic volume area for kids.”

While the motion to install the lights passed unanimously, some councillors aren’t happy about where the lights will be coming from. Another motion to remove the lights at the Central Avenue and 11th Street intersection passed by a 5-3 margin. Those lights will be reinstalled at Sixth Avenue and 28th Street.

Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp was among those who voted against the motion. She said there is little desire from residents in her ward to remove any lights from Central Avenue.

“We already have them, we’ve installed them, we’ve put the money into installing them and it seems foolish to remove them,” she said.

Lennox-Zepp added that she wanted the city to use traffic lights already in storage for the Sixth Avenue and 28th Street intersection. When asked if how many lights the city had in storage, the city’s public works director said he wasn’t sure, and would have to double check.

According to a report submitted by city administrators, Prince Albert has double the average number of traffic lights as other communities of this size. There are currently more than 60 sets of lights in the city, while the average sits at 33.

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne said the city’s priority is to remove traffic lights, not add them, meaning more lights will likely be taken down in the future.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca