An all-turns intersection has been approved for the intersection of Taylor Dr. and the Southpointe Junction.
The intersection in question needed approval in order for the developer of the area, Qualico, to move ahead with plans for the lands west of Taylor Dr. between 19th and 32nd Streets.
Council voted unanimously to proceed with the intersection.
The request came forward from Qualico based on the needs of a prospective major tenant of the Southpointe area who would only agree to lease the site conditional to the south access being ‘all-turns’.
“The overall assessment is that the additional movement will have fairly limited impact. Both the developer and the City have agreed to finding ways to meet the long-term traffic needs,” said City Manager Craig Curtis.
Al Terra Engineering submitted a new Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) evaluating the feasibility of the all-turns intersection showing that it had very limited impact.
The new intersection will lie just north of the 19th St. junction but south of the 22nd St. intersection.
Curtis said that the approval of the all-turns intersection will allow development of the Southpointe site to commence immediately and act as a catalyst for the development of the whole area.
Engineering Services Manager Frank Colosimo said time is of the essence on this project.
There was some concern regarding the two intersections to the north of the south access of the site at 22nd and 28th Streets, and what changes may be required of them in the future.
Curtis said the approval of the all-turns intersection was his recommendation and that the resolution reflects council’s desire to explore other innovative options for the two areas that may experience problems down the road.
“A lot of these traffic projections can change significantly over time. Traffic is not like sewage and water where you have known quantities. It is a very different beast that you have no known numbers for,” said Curtis.
Councillor Paul Harris said he was happy to vote to move the resolution forward.
Mayor Morris Flewwelling said it is exciting to see the development moving ahead and that it will be a good mixture of commercial, residential and park space.
The all-turns intersection does not alter or require any change to the Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan (NASP).
Some concern was brought forward by councillors regarding the distances between the intersections.
Currently, City design guidelines state that intersections along arterial roads should be 400 – 800 metres apart. The intersection to be added would be 250 – 300 metres from the pre-existing two intersections.
“What we’re going to do is look at what solutions we can do and what are some of the things we can try to get traffic flowing better in the long-term,” said Colosimo.
He also said that a series of round-abouts may be evaluated and other non-conventional intersections.
Harris said that one thing that will have to be kept in the forefront of all discussion is the walkability of the area and the ability to keep pedestrian traffic moving as well as vehicles.
“No matter what we decide to build congestion will happen; it always does. With the addition of the residential complexes in that area we need to be able to get traffic across that street and we want to make sure that no matter what we do it’s not just for cars but for people, too.”