Proposed expressway causes councillor concern

A proposed six-lane expressway has City Councillor Paul Harris wondering if there aren’t better ways to move traffic through the City.

“A six-lane expressway is so costly and it’s just not appropriate for taxpayers’ money,” said Harris.

The proposed expressway came up during a presentation by City planner Jordan Furness regarding a draft of the Timber Ridge Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan (NASP).

The expressway would be directly to the east of the Timber Ridge area and Harris said that alone is a concern.

“Because it abuts the expressway then some decisions need to be made regarding the setbacks that will be required.”

The setbacks for a standard four-lane road would be almost 30m less than those required for the expressway.

“This means we’re saying we need to reserve another 30 metres to build six lanes which means housing is pushed back and then because of the speed limit we would have to look at sound barriers,” said Harris.

The sound barriers themselves are an issue for Harris as he said he feels they change the whole feel of the City.

“By putting the expressway in I think you’re going to split the City into three pieces.”

Harris said other options should be looked at for effective vehicle movement through the City including the possibility of roundabouts or other non-conventional flow-through intersections.

The speed limit on the proposed expressway would be upwards of 90km/h and would form a portion of a ring road on the City’s east side.

“It would be a north-south connector from the Delburne Road but it’s not really a ring road because we’re already building on the other side, so it cuts right through the City,” said Harris.

Other concerns regarding the expressway include the walkability of the City and the fact that crossing a six-lane 90km/h road becomes a rather tenuous exercise for any pedestrian.

The Timber Ridge NASP should come before council in July or August and contains plans for 978 residential units as well as commercial land and green space.

A school site has also been designated in the area, which would mean there could potentially be children walking to and from school with a necessity to cross the proposed expressway.

Harris said he feels the issue should come up before the public sooner rather than later to be debated before there be any required changes to the land use bylaws in the area.