'Drastic' traffic proposal before Saint John council

Saint John city managers are weighing about 100 requests for traffic calming measures across the city, including one that would divert most cars off a major east-west street.

Proposal suggests divert most traffic off Douglas Avenue

There are few good traffic times on Saint John's Douglas Avenue. (Google Maps)

Saint John city managers are weighing about 100 requests for traffic-calming measures across the city, including one that would divert most cars off a major east–west street.  

Morgan Lanigan, who ran unsuccessfuly for city council in Ward 2 in May, said there are few good traffic times on Douglas Avenue. It's either bumper to bumper or it's a speedway, he said.  

"There are two issues, one of speed and one of volume. Volume could be corrected by restricting left-hand turns on to and off of Douglas Avenue," he suggests.  

"You get cars ripping through there at 70, 80, 90 kilometres an hour."  

Lanigan's proposed solutions were intriguing enough to win him a presentation before council.  

He admits they are drastic:

  • A no left turn rule on to — or off of — Douglas Aveune
  • Narrowing the street in several places
  • Consideration of a traffic circle at Bentley Drive  

Coun. Donnie Snook agreed saying you can't simply take a major east-west collector out of the mix.  

"That's one thing traffic calming. It's entirely another thing to eliminate almost all the traffic that currently uses a particular street," said Snook.  

Lanigan urged councillors to approve a trial — if only for a day — to see how his plan would work.   That may or may not happen.  

Tim O'Reilly, manager of pedestrian and traffic services for the city, said he is working through this and the 99 or so other traffic calming requests.  

He said he can make no promises about when he'll come back with a recommendation.  

In April, the city began looking at a number of traffic-calming solutions to Saint John's traffic woes.

Traffic-calming measures, such as raised crosswalks and traffic roundabouts, can make traffic enforcement easier for the Saint John Police, said traffic enforcement Sgt. Jeff LaFrance in a July interview.

"The unfortunate thing is we can't be there 24 hours a day. Where these traffic calming implementations have been put in place it has actually slowed down, or assisted us in calming the issue," said LaFrance.