Some Calgarians living in the deep southeast community of Cranston are upset that it can take a long time just to get to the traffic congestion of Deerfoot Trail during rush hour.
About 18,000 people live in the area, which has grown more than 35 per cent in the last four years, but the southern portion of the sprawling community only has one exit for all those cars. Two more exits are located on the north end and near the middle of the area.
"Before I can even get to Deerfoot-clogs, I've got a clog in my own community," said Phil Tracey, who put a dashboard camera in his car to record his morning commute.
It shows during 15 minutes spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic, he travelled a mere two kilometres.
Alleys filled up
Resident Sam Gill says the morning commute is so packed that cars are backed up everywhere.
"People go through alleys just to try to get closer to the front of the lineup and, yeah, sometimes even that is backed up 30 cars or so in the alley trying to get onto the main road just to get out," she said.
Lina Kattan is a traffic engineer at the University of Calgary and says the bottleneck could be a risk in the case of an emergency.
"I think in evacuation you have to think about other factors: people panicking and even accidents happening and people blocking the road," she said.
Disaster expert Tim Haney agrees, and says the sooner there's another route, the better.
"As we say in the field, 'Things that have never happened before, happen all the time.' And so that worst-case-scenario thinking is valuable to a certain extent," he said.
Stalled interchange coming
The area's councillor, Shane Keating, said the community was planned 15 to 20 years ago and proceeded as intended, but since that time Stoney Trail was built and caused some challenges in terms of exits.
More significantly, the province killed a planned southern interchange to access Deerfoot, but has since reversed course.
"What we're doing now, unfortunately, is playing catch up," said Keating.
Construction on that interchange is expected to begin this fall, but it could take two years to build. In the meantime, residents are likely stuck. Or at least slowed down considerably.
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