No decision on 15th Street changes yet

Nine Prince Albert businesses have been negatively affected by the new medians on 15 St. E. Photo Susan McNeil

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Daily Herald

Council did not act on any of the four options presented them for changing the newly built median strip on 15th Street that cuts off access to some businesses on the south side of the road.

Instead, they instructed staff to come back with a fifth option of having a design that includes an opening in front of 463-15th Street East for the next regular council meeting on September 27.

Two of the four options presented by staff were very costly and Director Wes Hicks said he recommended leaving the street as is until staff can see how the traffic flows.

“Option one is to do a total re-build of the roadway we have just created. There’s a dollar value there which is rather large,” Hicks said in reference to the estimated $320,000 cost.

“It would require removing most of the medians we’ve created in the middle and repaving the crown of the road,” he said. They would also have to change the traffic lights and said the it created a higher potential for accidents.

The second option would have involved leaving the traffic lights as they are now, but mean redoing all the medians and opening the median for the centre left hand turn lane while also redoing a large portion of the newly paved street.

Option 2 had the highest potential accident locations and the second highest cost.

The third option was to add an additional u-turn between Fourth and Fifth Avenue at a spot that is currently set for landscaping. This also would mean re-milling and re-paving a section of the street.

The third option was unattractive because of the $50,000 price tag and also a higher potential for accidents than the fourth option, which was to leave the road as it has been built now.

Keeping the existing design  and giving the public the chance to drive the slip lanes and use the u-turn to access the businesses would also give staff time to further review the design of the street and analyze the 2022 traffic data, Hicks said.

The u-turn is similar to the one on Sixth Avenue East near Carlton Comprehensive Schools, but includes room for two vehicles in the turning area.

During the discussion, several councillors acknowledged that not listening to Hick’s advice when they first planned the project had created the current issues. Council did not approve option four on Monday, which Hicks had recommended.

Dr. Java is one of nine businesses affected by the decision. Owners Chad and Brandy Mogg said as a business they preferred Options one or two, but suggested removing a nearby chuck of concrete as a completely different plan.

Chad Mogg said that cutting a piece of concrete to the east of their parking lot would open up a portion of roadway and would allow access to all businesses that have been impacted. It would allow people driving driving from east to west on 15th Street to access their business.

Brandy Mogg said she thought the u-turn lane would only hold two vehicles and that having vehicles cross three lanes of traffic would lead to accidents.

“The u-turn lane does not resolve the issue that anyone leaving any of the nine business cannot turn westward, they have to turn east,” she said. “There isn’t a way for them to turn around and go back the other way.”

She acknowledged the cost of Options one and two but said those plans worked best for their business.

Mayor Greg Dionne made the motion to have public works monitor the area’s traffic flow for six months and report back to council.

The motion also stated that Public Works should meet with the owner of the Shell gas station to see if they can “assist them to allow traffic to flow between the car wash and the building to the south,” with council even being willing to put a layer of pavement down to help make the idea more attractive.

The motion was defeated.

After more discussion, Councillor Zurakowski moved that administration come back with a design that reflects an opening in front of 463 – 15th Street East for the next regular council meeting in several weeks.

Staff will have several weeks to create a fifth option and include a price for council to decide on at their Sept. 27 meeting.