Mixed reactions to proposal to convert Stony Plain Road to one-way

Traffic on the Stony Plain Road could be limited to one direction, westbound, between 149th and 156th Streets to make way for the Valley Line West LRT.

Valley Line West LRT prompts change to major thoroughfare

A public engagement session on proposed one-way designs for Stony Plain Road was held at West End Christian Reformed Church on Thursday. (Anna McMillan/CBC)

Hundreds of Edmontonians shared their thoughts Thursday on proposed one-way designs for a portion of Stony Plain Road.

Traffic on the busy thoroughfare could be limited to one direction, westbound, between 149th and 156th Streets to make way for the Valley Line West LRT.

Initial plans proposed a single lane of traffic run in each direction.

The option is still on the table, but on Thursday evening, residents and local business owners attended a community meeting to provide feedback on four variations of the one-way:

  • Two westbound lanes, with one lane dedicated to parking after peak hours.
  • Two westbound lanes, with left-turn bays on 151st and 153rd Streets.
  • One westbound lane, with sidewalks about three metres wide.
  • One westbound lane on either side of the LRT tracks. This option is not recommended by the Valley Line West LRT project team.
Hundreds of people attended Thursday's meeting. (Anna McMillan/CBC)

Project manager Eva Cheung said the one-way idea came from a public engagement session well after the approval of the initial plan.

"It simplifies the traffic flow along the Stony Plain Road corridor in this particular area," she said, noting eastbound traffic could be diverted to adjacent roads like 100th and 107th Avenues.

"There's only limited space, but we're hearing through our engagement that there's lots of different needs and desires to use that space. But we can only fit so many things."

Mixed reactions to one-way plans

Chris Walsh, who owns No Frills near 150th Street and Stony Plain Road, said the one-way designs aren't ideal, but are an improvement from the original plan for divided two-way traffic.

"The concern with the divided road, it would choke traffic. And Stony Plain Road is busy at the best of times, so I can't imagine going down to a single lane with multiple stops in between anyhow," Walsh said at the meeting at the West End Christian Reformed Church on the city's west side.

"So as far as I'm concerned, making Stony Plain Road a one-way is the best of the worst options."

He said he's worried fewer drivers will use the road if traffic is constantly congested, and would prefer the city choose one of the options that allow for two lanes of westbound traffic.

There are four variations of the one-way plan the city can choose from. They can also stick with the original plan, which allowed two-way traffic. (Anna McMillan/CBC)

But Ron Buryniuk, who owns Gold'n Loan Pawn Shop on Stony Plain Road and 153rd Street, thinks the city should avoid the one-way idea altogether.

"The original plan is ideal," he said.

Buryniuk said a one-way would affect accessibility to his business, as the pawn shop's parking entrance is on the south side of the street, where the LRT tracks would run.

He also said the option for street parking after peak hours doesn't make sense, as most businesses in the area are busy during daytime hours.

Pros and cons

Every option comes with pros and cons, Coun. Andrew Knack said, but he has a favourite.

"I feel like the one-way option with the dedicated parking lane gives us a lot of the benefits and I think minimizes the negatives," he said.

Knack noted having street parking is important to some business owners in the area, as they were concerned with the two-way plan, which eliminated parking.

A one-way road could also save commuters a bit of time, he said.

"It allows us to adjust the timing of the traffic signals at 149th Street and Stony Plain Road," Knack said. "So while I don't think it will make a huge, huge impact in terms of time saved, it will help improve traffic movement at that intersection."

The project team is expected to bring a report on the designs to city council in fall 2018.