Chestermere City Council is enhancing connectivity throughout the community, with the East Side Trails Connectivity Project.
In July, city administration was authorized to begin work to incorporate pedestrian crosswalks and walkways on Merganser Dr., Township Road 241, and Sandpiper Lane.
City administration began four rounds of public engagement, including an online survey and an open house regarding the east side no parking recommendation to create multi-use pathways.
Each residence that would be affected by the project was sent a letter of invitation to the open house sessions.
The online survey asked residents if they would benefit from a multi-use pathway system.
“Although 45 per cent of the responses said ‘Yes’, it was clarified in the engagement a lot of residents would prefer a formal space to the line painting and felt the question was not conclusive,” Growth and Development Officer Carly Davies said during the Feb. 14 council meeting.
The survey also indicated to respondents that some areas would be no parking zones in order to access the multi-use pathways.
Throughout the public engagement process, Davies received frequent comments from residents explaining that they do not want to lose parking, either build a proper sidewalk or do nothing, safety is key, speed is a concern for pedestrians, concerns of having a false sense of security, and that this is an enforcement issue, not an infrastructure issue.
The survey indicated that the walkway solution is possibly the only option due to costs and retrofitting the existing roadway.
“During the public engagement, concerns arose around how to answer the survey. The questions seemed opposing comments. The general response was, ‘Yes there are safety concerns, no I don’t want this particular solution,” Davies said.
Residents’ suggestions from the engagement included moving mailboxes at Sunset Park to a south location, lowering the speed limit, adding crosswalks to already existing pathways, adding speed bumps on roadways, addressing bus stops and high pedestrian areas, and addressing the East Merganser Dr. and East Chestermere Drive intersection.
After reviewing the feedback provided by residents, city administration recommended that traffic and pedestrian safety at the East Chestermere Drive and East Merganser Dr. intersection be reviewed by an engineering consultant, and move the stop sign to East Merganser Dr.
Administration recommended reducing the speed along East Lakeview Road from 50 km/h to 40 km/h and reducing the speed from 40 km/h to 30 km/h on Sandpiper Lane.
“While other opportunities are investigated, it would be ideal to utilize the existing pathway systems and filter pedestrians to them where possible. Increasing safety at intersections throughout the approved project is great,” Davies said.
City administration also suggested adding East Chestermere Link to the scope of the project, to fix drainage issues, and provide a safe link to the pathway by the school and sports fields.
“This is a major drop-off zone for school, and this would increase the safety of parking in this area,” Davies said.
The total budget for the scope of the project is $595,000.
Davies explained the benefits of the project including upgrading safety, promoting an active lifestyle, enhancing cyclist and driver interactions, enhancing connectivity throughout the community, providing a driving alternative, and expanding the lake loop.
To move the project forward, council directed administration to obtain high-level cost and public consultation with residents in the affected area, and to obtain cost and design for the East Chestermere Drive and East Merganser Dr. intersection and add two crosswalks.
City administration was also directed to implement a speed reduction for a small portion of Sandpiper Lane from East Chestermere to Kinniburgh Blvd. from 40 km/h to 30 km/h, and to proceed with crosswalks on East Chestermere Link and East Lake View Road, and at Camp Chestermere’s main entrance.