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Calgary looks at removing remaining transit vehicle traps

Marjorie Roy would like to see the transit car trap adjacent to the Village Square Leisure Centre removed.

She said it’s become a safety issue.

The good news is, according to a briefing note from the city, they plan to decommission the Pineridge trap location, along with six others remaining in the city. They just need money in the budget to do it.

Roy, president of the Pineridge Community Association, said with Lester B. Pearson High School and Village Square Leisure Centre converging at the trap location, there’s a lot of traffic – both pedestrian and vehicle.

The vehicle trap location in Pineridge where Village Square Leisure Centre and Lester B. Pearson High School meet. GOOGLE STREETVIEW

“I would like to see it removed for a number of reasons and most importantly, it’s for the children’s safety, senior safety and Village Square when the people are cutting through that parking lot,” she said.

Roy is part of a roundtable group with the leisure centre, the nearby United Church, Silvera for Seniors and the high school. This issue has come up on several occasions.

The crossing pre-dates Roy’s residence in Pineridge, which goes back to 1982. She even recalls it being a topic of conversation as the high school was built in the 1990s. At that time, they’d considered a +15-style crossing for safety.

“Since I’ve been working from home for the last couple of years, it is like I mean, I hear horns honking in the morning – people are trying to get their children to school,” she said.

‘No long viable’: City

The admin response to a request from Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot to examine the utility of transit-only passages said the “bus traps” are nearly half a century old. There are only seven remaining active sites in Calgary.

Other transit-only locations use mechanical gates.

“The use of bus traps as a traffic control application is no longer viable for several reasons,” the city’s briefing note read.

They cite vehicle damage costs, service disruptions when a vehicle is caught, Calgary Transit shuttles can’t use them, and technology advancements.

“I do know that having visited Vista Heights on numerous occasions, that I had encountered a similar issue with that trap there,” Chabot said.

The locations of some of the remaining systems, along with how many bus trips per day. CITY OF CALGARY

Chabot corrects himself when he refers to them as “bus traps” as they trap cars, he said. And, they can’t be used by certain transit vehicles.

“It’s an increasing problem rather than a decreasing problem,” he said.

Chabot said it may not have been such a big problem when they were first installed 50 years ago. As growth in northeast Calgary exploded, he said the communication around the traps may be lacking as the signs are in English only.

“I think it may be partially as a result of a communications barrier, language barrier,” Chabot said.

Solutions for the crossings

Chabot said an admin plan will come up in the next budget. He said the fix should be straightforward. It’s not an ongoing cost to implement or operate the new solutions, Chabot said. The money could come from the city’s fiscal stability reserve.

The city said they’ve looked at different options for the crossings. Their capital request for the upcoming budget will examine each crossing and provide the best solution. They’ve looked at mechanical gates and virtual gates along with other solutions.

Roy would like to see the Pineridge crossing removed altogether to allow traffic access. To limit cut-through traffic and 26 / 28 Avenue NE being used as a speed strip, she’d like to see traffic calming.

“I’d like a full traffic opening with traffic calming, but the bus only crossing just doesn’t work,” she said.

Location of vehicle traps by map. CITY OF CALGARY