Short amber lights to blame for collisions at Bishop Grandin intersection, Wise Up Winnipeg says

A group of Winnipeg traffic ticket fighters are calling on the city to increase what they say are dangerously short amber light times at a high-speed intersection, and bring in advanced warning flashers to give drivers time to slow down before they get ticketed.

High-speed intersections need longer yellow and advanced warning flashers: Dube

Around four members of a Winnipeg traffic ticket fighters group met at the intersection of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and St. Mary's Road to warn drivers about what they say is a dangerously short amber light. (CBC)

A group of Winnipeg traffic-ticket fighters is calling on the city to increase what they say are dangerously short amber light times at a high-speed intersection, and bring in advanced warning flashers to give drivers time to slow down before they get ticketed.

Around four members of Wise Up Winnipeg were at the intersection of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and St. Mary's Road starting at noon holding signs reading "Caution chronic collision intersection" and "$hort amber ahead."

Last year, the spot appeared in the No. 5 spot on a Manitoba Public Insurance list rounding up the worst intersections in the city from 2005 to 2014, with 1,556 collisions in the period. It also made it into the Top 10 list of a recently released City of Winnipeg traffic study based on MPI data on rates of fatal and injury collisions.

Founder of Wise Up Winnipeg Todd Dube said the solution is engineering, not enforcement.

"When you have an amber time that is too short, how that is reflected in the data is collisions before entering the intersection. That's when people realize, when they see the amber, they don't have enough time to reasonably stop or process this crisis and then try and proceed through," Dube said.

"The only crisis here, yearly, chronically, to put it on this list, is the poor engineering that needs to be corrected. Otherwise, you'd have to believe that for some reason, people like to gather here to crash for some reason," he said. "There's no anomaly here. It has to do with engineering."

City study on Bishop Grandin coming, councillor says

St. Vital city Coun. Brian Mayes attended the event after hearing about it in the media, he said.

He said the city just completed a study on Bishop Grandin collisions, and has plans to include it in a larger study in 2018.

"We're not ignoring it. It's an issue, and that's why we had the first study done, and we'll be doing more," he said.

Mayes said he appreciated driver concerns about safety and fairness, but he didn't think increasing amber light times was the solution.

"I don't think the problem is ... we need a longer light at certain intersections. I think that would just confuse people," he said.

"I do think it's a fair point to say we need more advanced notice of the lights changing. I think that's a fair point, and that's something some of us have raised."

Four seconds suitable, city says

A spokeswoman for the City of Winnipeg said in an email the four-second time is suitable for the intersection.

The city uses four seconds as a standard amber light duration for all signalized intersections, she said, as does the province.

"Using a standardized duration time for amber lights provides predictability for motorists when they are making a decision about travelling across an intersection (it is one less thing a driver needs to think about when making a decision to enter the intersection)," she wrote.

The 2018 road safety audit will include the Bishop Grandin and other key roadways, she said.

"The audit will review the adequacy of the design for the whole intersection and roads approaching it," she wrote.