Traffic calming circles lead to anger

Residents of Winnipeg's River Heights community are expressing concerns about new traffic calming circles in the neighbourhood.

Residents of Winnipeg's River Heights community are expressing concerns about new traffic calming devices in the neighbourhood.

The circular,concrete structures are in the the middle of intersections. They are going up along Grosvenor Avenue to replace four-way stops.

"I think these things are going to produce accidents," Andrew Allentuck, a resident who lives on nearby Waterloo Street, told CBC News. "I think that people in the winter will slide into them. I think they will be covered by snow drifts. I think, although designed to slow traffic, some kids will think that the best thing is to use them as an obstacle course."

Another resident raised concerns about the impact of the roadway changes on public transit and other traffic.

"What is it going to mean for the buses that come up and down the street? And for the fire engine that has to come down this street? And for bicycles in the summer time?" Elise Swerhone said. "It seems to be constricting traffic, not opening it up."

John Orlikow, the city council member for the ward, is defending the installation of the circles. He told CBC News that residents have complained about speeding motorists along the street and the circles are an effective way to slow lead-footed drivers.

He said traffic engineers have a good understanding of how to properly install the devices.

He added that concerns about safety and maintenance have been addressed.

"We've talked to our fire, we've talked to our police, we've talked to our public works about snow removal," Orlikow said.

He said there wasn't much time between public consultation and the construction of the circles because the work included a component of federal government funding and there was a deadline attached to that.

"Yes. The consultation was poor," Orlikow said. "I wish we could stagger this out more. However at the end of the day do I want this, or nothing?"

The city of Winnipeg held open houses on the topic and information letters were sent to residents in February.