Houston is envisioning a new road to cross Buck Creek at 14th Street.
At an open house last Wednesday, consultant Jan Voss presented a draft vision that will guide road development and help the District lobby for funding.
A crucial part of the study was the “hourglass shape” of the roads, with no alternative routes crossing Buck Creek.
“I never realized how constricted your road network was,” Voss said.
Last June, consultants counted traffic throughout the community and found that on average 8,381 vehicles crossed the Buck Creek Bridge every day.
The draft Transportation Plan recommends creating an alternative route besides Highway 16. The best way is to extend 14th Street past the Leisure Facility and across Buck Creek to 14th West by the Northwest Community College, Voss said.
To lobby the Ministry of Transportation for funding, show them how local traffic is clogging Highway 16 and suggest making this alternative route to make highway traffic flow better, Voss said.
The draft Transportation Plan also recommends several road improvements to connect areas and give alternate routes for better traffic flow.
(1) For better downtown access, the plan recommends a new traffic light at the Highway 16 intersection with Butler Avenue.
It also suggests a better link between Benson Avenue across from the mall and 11th Street by the RCMP.
(2) To improve the Nadina intersection, the plan suggests a short-term fix, adding a traffic light and extending Kanata Avenue straight to the Highway.
Long-term, they might extend Nadina on the south side of the Highway so that it climbs the hill and connects to Hillside Avenue.
(3) Several neighbourhood road improvements suggested was to extend Goold Road between Houston Secondary School and the Duck Pond and connect it to Hungerford Drive.
Another suggestion was to fix the “rabbit trail” and build a proper road between Lund Road and Mountainview Drive.
(4) The plan also suggests closing the 9th Street connection to Highway 16 and fixing the highway and Poulton Avenue intersection by adding turning lanes.
Many of these road improvements would make Houston more “transit-friendly,” Voss said.
Public transit was among the top four suggestions made by the public at the last open house in June.
The draft Transportation Plan includes a recommendation to capitalize on the Via Rail station.
“There are very few communities that actually have a regular schedule for passengers to access the rail system,” Voss said.
Via Rail is “an important part of your future,” he said.
The transportation plan recommends upgrading the train station, and making it a station for Greyhound and taxi as well.
The plan also includes improvements for pedestrians including new sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.
Voss said the transportation plan is a long-term plan that casts a vision that may extend over 30 or 40 years if needed.
He added that developing this plan also gives the District of Houston information to enable them to access grants as they come available.
The transportation plan will lead to changes in Houston’s Official Community Plan, and the public will be invited to an open house January 21, 2015 to give input.