Lane capacity halved as traffic calming measures introduced on Prior Street
VANCOUVER -- Residents in the Strathcona area of Vancouver woke up to a long-awaited change on a busy stretch of road Monday morning, where traffic capacity was halved on Prior Street and a new speed limit was also introduced.
The changes are in effect between Raymur and Gore avenues, where both curb lanes have been turned into parking zones, and the speed limit near Strathcona Park has been reduced from 50 km/h to 30 km/h.
The changes mean only one lane of traffic will flow through in each direction, even at peak periods.
The goal is to change the street from an arterial route, to a collector route with a more moderate capacity.
"This is something the neighbourhood has been asking for a decade," Dan Jackson with the Strathcona Residents Association told CTV News Monday morning. "This is really a residential street that cuts through the middle of our neighbourhood. And we have really legitimate concerns about safety and connection in our neighbourhood."
Despite the new measures, traffic flowed smoothly Monday morning, though many drivers appeared to be going much faster then the new 30 km/h speed limit near the park.
The city has warned drivers who use Prior Street that there may be delays during peak times. It did not suggest any alternate routes for drivers who might want to avoid the road altogether.
Vancouver Coun. Pete Fry, who lives in the area, crossed Prior Street early Monday as he took his dog for a walk at Strathcona Park.
"I recognize when I cross the street every day that it's an unsafe street," Fry said.
Fry lost a friend who was struck by a vehicle along Prior Street. He is hopeful the changes in effect Monday will make others in his neighbourhood safer.
"As the speed of the cars reduces, I think people will feel a little more comfortable walking on the sidewalks. With the street parking on both sides we’ll see a bit more of a buffer between speeding cars and the feeling of personal safety with the narrow sidewalks."
With plans to remove the viaducts in the future, the changes are also part of a bigger picture of what traffic in the False Creek Flats area may look like in the future.
The pilot program will be in effect for about a year, with the city monitoring traffic impacts before any permanent changes are made.
"We are interested to see what the results of this change are. We don't see this as a temporary thing. We see this as a way to see what's the best way to turn this back into a residential street," Jackson said.