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Sep 14,2007 Tri City News

By Sarah Payne The Tri-City News

Moody Centre’s traffic troubles may soon be a thing of the past.

Tuesday, Port Moody council approved several traffic calming measures detailed in a consultant’s report and opted to drop the proposed five-year implementation timeline in favour of having the finance committee examine how quickly the work can get done.

This isn’t the first traffic calming initiative for Moody Centre. A 1999 study resulted in traffic circles on St. George Street at Moody and Grant streets and speed bumps on St. George.

In 2002, a safety review of Gatensbury Road resulted in chevron signs and pavement grooving to improve safety on the steep, winding road and, in 2005, curb extensions and median islands were installed at the Henry and Moody street intersection.

But Moody Centre residents’ concerns lingered and the 2007 study, conducted by Opus Hamilton Consultants, identified several major traffic issues that included: commuters using neighbourhood streets to bypass St. Johns Street traffic; high traffic volume on St. George Street; speeding on Gatensbury Road; and neighbourhood schools generating high volumes of traffic.

The study recommended a number of new improvements, including:

• adding a traffic circle at St. George and Mary streets;

• relocating centre art pieces from existing traffic circles and adding directional signs;

• installing speed humps on Hope Street and on St. George Street between Williams and Buller streets;

• putting medians on Gatensbury Road to slow traffic and discourage truck traffic; and

• installing chokers to at Douglas and Elgin streets to prevent St. Johns Street traffic from entering traffic (contingent on finalization of Evergreen Line plans).

Staff will also consider relocating a portion of the St. George Street bicycle route to St. Andrews Street.

The bill was estimated at $115,000 for the Moody Centre improvements and $71,000 for Gatensbury Road for a total of $186,000 (2007 dollars) if implemented over five years.

But several neighbourhood residents spoke up at Tuesday’s meeting to ask that the recommendations be built much sooner than that.

“We’ve waited long enough and the problem will only get worse if we wait any longer,” said Helen Brown, who lives on St. George.

Heather Skipworth, who used to live at Moody and St. George streets and now lives a few blocks away, said she and her husband are fed up with the constant rat-running and congestion on St. George, noting that an accident on St. Johns turns St. George into gridlock.

Another resident asked that the full package be put in place at the same time for more effective traffic control. “If it’s spread over five years I would like to hope that would take us into construction of the LRT and Murray-Clarke connector, and then the traffic would be even worse,” he said.

Coun. Meghan Lahti agreed that she wanted to have the measures in place sooner because previous studies and projects with a similar multi-year timeline haven’t been completed because momentum is lost.

“If the impossible happens and the Murray-Clarke connector is funded, and the doubly impossible happens and the Evergreen Line is funded, this neighbourhood is going to be a disaster,” said Mayor Joe Trasolini. “Have you gone near Cambie Street lately? We need to get this done as soon as possible.”

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