What to do with Scona Road?

On April 28th, I voted in favour of increasing the speed limit on Scona Road from 50 km/h to 60 km/h.

For me, three issues were in play:

1. Our Transportation Department told us that Scona Road is designed for a speed limit of up to 70 km/h, and there would be no safety concerns associated with raising the limit to 60 km/h.

2. Scona Road has become a lightning rod for the issue of photo radar based on the number of tickets recently mailed to motorists. This resulted in the inquiry made by Councillor Bryan Anderson.

3. The surrounding communities have long been concerned with speeding on 99th street (south of Scona Road), and worry that increasing the speed limit on Scona Road will increase the speed of traffic in their neighbourhood

I found little hard evidence to confirm that increasing the speed limit to better align with the design of Scona Road would in fact increase speeding or pedestrian risk on 99th street south of Saskatchewan Drive. I was not convinced that one impacts the other in this circumstance.

In Ward 10 Belgravia Road is 60 km/h on the non-residential stretch. It becomes 50 km/h as it runs through Parkallen and McKernan because of on-street parking. I have not heard any concerns about speeding on this roadway.

The fundamental problem I see on 99th street is that we have a busy four lane arterial roadway pushing traffic through one of our most desirable mature communities. This is why at the previous transportation committee, I put forward the following motion:

That Administration work with the affected communities to develop traffic safety and speed mitigation strategies including possible parking and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes along 99 Street south of Saskatchewan Drive to Whyte Avenue and provide options to further enhance pedestrian safety at the Saskatchewan Drive, 99 Street and Scona Road intersection.

Leaving Scona Road at 50 km/h will not stop speeding on Scona Road; the median speed is presently 61.4 km/h. It will also not change the fact that 99th Street needs to be rethought. Regardless of past efforts, 99th Street requires a new strategy to reduce speeding and pedestrian risk.


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  • commented 2014-05-01 14:06:00 -0600
    The previous council let Transportation and their traffic engineers steamroll them into approving this unneeded and far too expensive “rehab” of 99 St/Scona Road. Like a whole lot of other roads and streets in Edmonton 99 St/Scona Road is overbuilt. It’s too smooth, straight and fast for the environment that is in. Now you, and the rest of council, have to deal with the previous poor decisions by council and and the city’s traffic engineers. The dangers and poor design present in this stretch of road are manifest but let’s lay them out.

    - The free flow lane that leads directly onto Sask. Dr. makes crossing the street from the pedestrian island to the gorgeous, wide and expensive multi-use path on the west-side of Scona road extremely dangerous.
    - The design speed of 99 St is still too high, probably 60 km/h for a road that bisects a mature residential neighborhood with walkable retail. This is also a street that kids have to cross in order to get to school
    - 99 St has commercial and retail development along it which presumably the city would like to see succeed and expand. A high design speed discourages this success and expansion
    -99 St is a major north-south truck route for some reason

    It’s a fact that drivers will drive to the design speed of the road. In this case Scona could probably be driven safely at 60-70 km/h. Unfortunately this stretch of road is quite short and leads directly into residential areas that require slower speeds. Hence the need for a lower speed limit and enforcement.

    I don’t envy you. Both drivers and the surrounding community have every right to be angry. But when you start looking at making the best of a bad situation here is what I’d propose.

    - Turn 75th Street in a truck route.
    - During non-peak hours use lane control or other means to turn 99th Street into a two or possibly three (one turning) lane route.
    - Change the signage to encourage more parking on 99 St during non-peak hours.
    - Set up a speed on green camera at the 99 St/Saskatchewan Rd intersection. Put up lots of signage letting everyone know about this speed on green camera exists
    - Set up a permanent photo radar station with lots of signage near the top of Scona Road
    - Flashing amber lights for pedestrians crossing from the pedestrian island to the MUP at the intersection of 99 St. and Sask. Dr.