Lanes may be trimmed on 43rd Avenue

A busy Vernon road may be going on a diet.

A busy Vernon road may be going on a diet.

The city wants to reduce 43rd Avenue, from 32nd to 27th streets, from four to three traffic lanes but it will depend on obtaining a $868,000 government grant.

“It won’t adversely affect capacity and just makes it more efficient,” said Amanda Watson, transportation technician.

The three lanes would include one each way for traffic and a centre two-way, left-turn lane. The space gained by eliminating the fourth lane would be for cyclists.

“Efficiency is maintained because, especially at peak periods, the inner lanes on a four-lane cross-section are typically used as left-turn lanes, whereas the left-turning vehicles are removed from the through lane on the three-lane cross-section,” said Watson.

Watson says other benefits from going to three lanes include lanes reducing speed and accidents.

The only opposition comes from Coun. Bob Spiers.

“It’s such a main east/west corridor,” he said.

“I can’t understand why this would become the diet road.”

The average daily traffic on 43rd Avenue is between 10,000 and 12,000 vehicles.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe supports staff’s concept because 43rd Avenue would be linked to existing bicycle paths in the area.

“We have too many trails that drive people into the middle of nowhere and don’t connect,” she said.

But while lanes on 43rd Avenue may eventually be trimmed, council has not endorsed a staff recommendation to block left-turn lanes at 31st Street. Staff insisted that such a move was needed to improve safety.

“Twice now 31st Street has been proposed for no-left turns and there’s been push back (from the public),” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

“One of the reasons is 29th Street (upgrades) is being done. People are taking shortcuts because they don’t want to take 29th.”

Lippert believes the left-turn at 31st Street can be revisited once the 29th Street project is completed and motorists have adjusted to traffic patterns.

According to a city report, 50 per cent of the collisions on 43rd Avenue occurred at the intersection with 32nd Street. Thirty per cent were at the 27th Street intersection and 20 per cent were at 31st and 29th streets.