Stratford schools to get road connected, roundabout no longer part of plan
Local MLA says 'not a single resident' in his district wanted the roundabout
The P.E.I. Department of Transportation says it's pulling the plug on a roundabout that was supposed to help alleviate school traffic in Stratford.
Instead it's going to connect Glen Stewart Drive and MacKinnon Drive to create better access to Glen Stewart Primary and Stratford Elementary schools.
That will make Glen Stewart Drive — currently a dead end — a through street to Kinlock Road.
"It's something that the local MLA had been asking for for eight years now," said Steven Myers, minister of transportation, infrastucture and energy.
"Lo and behold it was part of the Stratford traffic study and and we're just kind of shifting the gears around to make that come up first."
Myers isn't concerned that connecting the roads will increase traffic in front of the two schools.
"There's a lot of congestion in there anyways, if you've ever been in there in the morning around 8:30, there's cars everywhere and they're not moving at all," Myers said.
"This is going to take away at least half of that and maybe more because there's going to be another entrance out."
Proposed roundabout unpopular
Stratford-Keppoch MLA James Aylward is pleased with the decision.
"The proposed roundabout, when I was going door to door in the most recent election, it was brought up continually to me," Aylward said.
"There was not a single resident in Stratford in my district that was in favour of this decision, they were all advocating and asking for Glen Stewart to MacKinnon to be connected."
Aylward says many residents told him they felt the roundabout was going to make the traffic worse, not better.
"Particularly in the morning rush hour, because of the set of lights at the Trans-Canada intersection, that the traffic would get backed up literally into the roundabout and it would just complicate matters even more," Aylward said.
"Also there's several local businesses that were going be affected particularly around their parking and entrances, they were not happy with the situation at all."
Aylward says connecting the roads will also make access to the schools easier for first responders.
"The number one reason that I was advocating for this to happen in the first place is the safety of our children, there's not another school on P.E.I. that's landlocked essentially, with only one entrance," Aylward said.
"Obviously this gives first responders two ways to get into the school, which I think is a very important safety measure."
Stratford parent Jodi Zver is also happy to hear the roads will be connected.
"I think that's fantastic news, it will reduce the congestion at the end of Glen Stewart Drive," said Zver, who's also co-chair of the Stratford Elementary Home and School Association.
'If anything, I think it increases the safety because the fact that there's only one entrance and exit to the school has always been a little bit of a concern."
Better for buses
Principal Janet Cameron says connecting the roads will also make things smoother for the many students who travel by school bus.
"I was just talking to a bus driver and I mentioned it to her and she was really excited about it as well," Cameron said.
"She said ... that would be awesome because they would drop and then they would go out to Kinlock and then straight up to the traffic lights, so it would move buses along really quickly."
In a statement, Stratford council said it supports the decision and looks forward to the work proceeding in the near future.
The roundabout was projected to cost $1.1 million and the transportation minister said that money will be redirected to connecting MacKinnon Drive.
Work is expected to start in late summer or early fall.