Following three rounds of community consultation and trials to address traffic management issues in the Churchlands Green subdivision, the right turn pocket from Pearson Street into Alumni Terrace will be permanently closed.
After a thorough public question time at last night’s meeting, Council approved the City officers’ recommendation, which was supported by traffic data that showed traffic reduction between 51-76 per cent on University Avenue and Alumni Terrace during the trials.
In reviewing the traffic data captured during the trials, the City considered the impact of non-local, through traffic on local access roads, including heavy vehicles travelling through the estate, as well as the broader impacts of the treatments put in place to mitigate ‘rat running’.
The option supported by Council addresses residents’ concerns of non-local traffic, with traffic volumes on two local access roads reducing by about two thirds of their pre-trial levels. The resolution also continues to allow access into the subdivision for residents through a close and convenient alternative access into Churchlands Green estate from the south.
Mayor Mark Irwin acknowledged that the Churchlands Green traffic management trial had been a divisive issue in the local area but the traffic data showed the trial had reduced non-local, through traffic.
“As Councillors in such a large local government area we often face some challenging and contentious issues but the data tells us this is the best outcome for the greatest number of people in the community.
“The figures from both trials show that the right turn pocket closures resulted in 64-76 per cent less traffic on Alumni Terrace and between 51-72 per cent less traffic on University Avenue.
“While the resolution will mean only one of the right turn pocket closures is made permanent (from Pearson Street into Alumni Terrace) we believe this is the best balance in addressing the issue of non-local traffic through the Churchlands Green subdivision, while also considering the impacts of additional traffic on roads outside of the subdivision.
“We appreciate that we will need to continue working alongside the community on this issue because an increasing population and growing schools will create more challenges for effective traffic management, and we want to work collaboratively with the community into the future to best manage this.”
In May 2020, a report to Council advising of concerns around the volume of non-local traffic (including heavy traffic) through the Churchlands Green residential area, particularly along University Avenue and Alumni Terrace. Traffic surveys showed that 71 per cent of vehicles on these roads (just over 2,100 vehicles per day) were non-local traffic, and a treatment was needed to reduce this volume.
Following this report, residents were asked to comment on a proposal to address traffic management issues. The City’s intent has been to move non-local traffic away from local access roads (which were not designed to accommodate such flows) and move this traffic to designated distributor roads.
Most respondents supported a trial for left turn temporary closures at the intersections of Alumni Terrace and Pearson Street, University Avenue and Empire Avenue and a right turn ban from University Avenue into Alumni Terrace.
The first trial (trial one) ran from July 2020 to March 2021 and since it started, the City has been collecting regular traffic data to measure the impacts on the local road network. The intent was for Council to consider a report on the trial’s performance (including community feedback) to establish if the modifications should be made permanent.
While trial one was successful in reducing non-local traffic along University Avenue and Alumni Terrace, there were secondary impacts that affected the perception of success for some residents.
- An increase in traffic on various other local roads within the subdivision, due to motorists trying to find an alternative route to bypass the temporary turning restrictions.
- A high percentage of vehicles making illegal left turn movements against the temporary turning restrictions, including 68 per cent of vehicles turning left from Alumni Terrace onto Pearson Street, and 36 per cent of vehicles turning left from University Avenue onto Empire Avenue.
Based on the benefits and impacts of trial one, Council decided on 30 March 2021 to implement a second trial (trial two) of right turn restrictions at two key intersections – the intersection of Pearson Street and Alumni Terrace, and the intersection of Empire Avenue and University Avenue. Trial two was delivered in two stages: stage one from 26 May 2021 and stage two from 29 July 2021.
Both trials one and two show reduced traffic along Alumni Terrace (reduction of 64 per cent in stage one and 76 per cent in stage two) and University Avenue (reduction of 51-56 per cent in stage one and 70-72 per cent in stage two). Results showed the volume of traffic on these roads was within their practical design capacity as local access roads, while the net traffic volume on nearby Cromarty Road, Lucca Street and Tuscany Way increased to volumes within their practical design capacity as local distributor roads.
Consultation for the two trials netted 143 responses, with most respondents agreeing phase one worked well, and most agreeing stage two did not work well. At the 28 September Council Meeting, Council deferred a decision on the matter to allow for a final survey on the options to be undertaken.
The City sent direct mail-outs to 380 owners and residents in the subdivision (limited to one survey per household), which generated 224 valid responses. The final survey showed majority support for the third option to close right turns from Pearson Street into Alumni Terrace and from Empire Avenue into University Avenue.
Council’s decision to close the right turn pocket from Pearson Street into Alumni Terrace was considered the best balance in addressing the issue of non-local traffic through the Churchlands Green subdivision, while also considering the impacts of additional traffic on roads outside of the subdivision.
For more on the trial, visit the Shaping Our City Churchlands Green Traffic Management Trial project page.
To view the Council report, you can view the documents from the 7 December Council Meeting on the City’s Council Minutes and Agendas page.
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