Larkhall Street residents call on city to help deal with speeding, traffic concerns
Coun. Ian Froude frustrated by split vote on decision at council
A group of residents of Larkhall Street is calling on the City of St. John's to help them stop speeding traffic and increase traffic control in the neighbourhood.
The Baird Neighbourhood Interim Traffic Steering Committee began working to address traffic and speeding issues over two years ago, including having several conversations with council, according to member Ryan Painter.
Painter said the street has seen some positive change in recent years but more needs to be done.
"Here on Larkhall, we're at the corner of Donegal [Place]. It's an acceleration zone for the light," Painter said Wednesday. "It's also the south end of the school zone. So we're seeing accelerated traffic, cars overtaking one another. So it's a speed and safety issue."
Painter said there are also pedestrian safety issues in the area, as many people try to make a dangerous cross between Vinnicombe Sreet and Thorburn Road to reach the Avalon Mall.
"We've had an awful lot of conversation and communication [with] certainly some unanswered questions, specifically about development that's on the horizon in our neighbourhood," he said. "So what we're aiming to do essentially is calm the traffic, put a bit of a stop to the volume of traffic, keep it safe and comfortable for all the residents and students in our neigbourhood."
St. John's Coun. Ian Froude agrees more should be done to help traffic and safety in the area, and he put forward a motion to add an additional crosswalk to the already planned curb extensions in the area.
However, when the motion was put forward at Monday's council meeting, the vote ended in a tie due to the departure of Ward 2 Coun. Hope Jamieson.
"I was frustrated, but I understand where colleagues are coming from. But I still support the request of the residents," Froude said.
"I think we need to go the extra mile in a school zone to ensure that it's safe. This spot is clearly a desired path for people to use, and we're going to be doing construction on that location basically anyways.… So while the construction equipment is mobilized, I think we should do the extra crosswalk and curb extension, as well."
Froude said Larkhall Street was left out of the city's traffic calming project because the city recently upgraded the street from a local street to a collector street.
According to Froude, collector streets are expected to carry more traffic than others and get a slightly higher priority when it comes to snow clearing — which disqualifies the street from the project.
"They're no longer qualified for the broader traffic calming project," he said. "So they're frustrated by that, and understandably so."
Froude said the city is using crosswalks as a way to address broader concerns about speeding and traffic, and will put a second motion forward for the Thorburn Road crosswalk at the next council meeting.
With files from Jeremy Eaton