It is with mixed feelings of trepidation and relief that I write this article.
First there’s relief. Finally there’s the possibility of a discussion on ‘Cochrane made’ ideas to fix our growing traffic issues.
There are also concerns. First off, is there the potential with this plan to simply move traffic congestion from one part of the town to another part?
Second, as I understand it, the proposed linkage would go past the parasailing site that is one of Cochrane’s most visible attractions. If this was to be lost because of possible traffic vs. paraglider safety concerns I think this would be a loss for all of Cochrane.
Third, what about the other areas of the town that are equally affected by traffic congestion? I am unclear of how Coun. Morgan Nagel plans to facilitate a public discussion that is objective and attracts feedback from all of Cochrane residents, not just those in the immediate area that would be affected by this motion. Perhaps form a community group to work with administration to present proposals to Council?
Councillor Nagel is on record stating that he is only wishing to facilitate a ‘broader discussion' about traffic with this motion. I have a concern that this debate will center only on this one option to improve traffic flow while other options are already available that could benefit all of Cochrane.
One such option is to facilitate access to the various range roads that already connect Cochrane with Calgary. These roads already exist, exist in all areas of our town and would likely require only minor tweaking such as pavement, small extensions of roads and/or lights. Why not connect Sunterra Boulevard directly to Big Hill Road for example.
Another such option would be to add on and off ramps/lanes for the Fireside, River Song/River Heights subdivisions and/or the intersection between Fourth Avenue W. and Highway 1A. This solution would divert commuter traffic, could greatly improve the traffic safety, are readily available and would facilitate more efficient flow patterns. Admittedly these solutions would only be partially successful but I suspect that Cochrane’s growing traffic woes will not be solved by only one solution.
I’m pretty sure that these options could be cheaper, affect all of Cochrane and be implement faster than the bigger project proposed by Coun. Nagel.
I still find it aggravating that developments were permitted to go forward without proper consideration for the collective impact on Cochrane’s infrastructure or the additional costs of fixing problems after the fact. At least we’re moving past the never ending cycle of blaming the province government for the problems that we’ve played a key role in creating or wait for the province to do something while traffic congestion continues to get worse. I’ve never believed that more effective begging is an effective strategy to fix traffic issues. I don’t know why it took this long for a serious discussion to begin but I’m glad it’s happening.