City to add stop signs at Marine Park and Lakeshore

Marine Park crossing: Safety concerns prompt intersection changes.

  • Mar. 20, 2013 5:00 p.m.
Changes in the works: Downtown traffic flow will be altered when three new stop signs are installed at the entrance to the Marine Park intersection due to concerns about safety at the railway crossing.

Changes in the works: Downtown traffic flow will be altered when three new stop signs are installed at the entrance to the Marine Park intersection due to concerns about safety at the railway crossing.

A new three-way intersection will be established at the Marine Park Drive railway crossing in response to safety concerns raised by Transport Canada.

City council approved the intersection as recommended in a report by engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen. This will result in the placement of three new stop signs where Marine Park Drive connects to Lakeshore – one leaving Marine Park, another to the north-east side of Marine Park Drive for traffic coming into town, and the third directly across from Marine Park Drive for traffic heading northeast up Lakeshore.

The three-way stop is one of four recommendations from a traffic impact analysis conducted by the city in response to a May 3, 2012 letter of notice from Transport Canada railway safety inspector Dennis Maskell.

In the letter, Maskell raises a number of safety concerns witnessed during a March 22, 2012 inspection of the intersection, including an “ever-present possibility of a vehicle being hit by one or more trains while trying to engage this T-intersection without the right of way,” adding there is “virtually no road storage capacity after the railway tracks for vehicles trying to access Lakeshore Drive.”

Niewenhuizen said the only requirement of Transport Canada was to make the crossing safer, but this was a challenge nonetheless. He reiterated Maskell’s concern, stating the biggest issue is the limited distance between the tracks and the stop bar on Lakeshore and Marine Park Drive.

“The reason why this will work is because on a three-way stop, there’s time,” said Niewenhuizen. “When people stop, there’s enough time to clear the intersection, and because Lakeshore is now being stopped, Marine Park will have the same amount of time to clear as the other vehicles being stopped.

“So if there is a trailer parked across the tracks, they will have enough time to clear out before the arms will activate from the rail crossing.”

Niewenhuizen said this was the least intrusive of the four options. It is also one of the least expensive, with mandatory improvements running at $3,000, and another $21,000 in recommended improvements.

“This is the safest option we looked at,” said Niewenhuizen.

“It will, unfortunately, stop traffic on Lakeshore coming into town. So we have to have some mitigating factors in the beginning forewarning drivers, because that stretch on Lakeshore is almost an acceleration zone, as we found when we did the traffic counts and the speed bumps were in question.”

Included in the recommended improvements are a speed reader sign and pedestrian signage.

Niewenhuizen said the existing crosswalks will stay where they are for the time being.

The installation of the new stop signs is scheduled to take place at the end of May.