'Road diet' could help slow traffic at Steveston Highway intersection: city

Waiting 60 seconds to turn left onto Steveston Highway isn’t asking too much of motorists, according to the City of Richmond.

But, to appease residents of the Constable Gate catchment area – which contains about 130 properties and is located west Gilbert Road – city staff are looking into the idea of putting the highway on a “road diet.”

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This “diet” would mean narrowing the width of lanes on Steveston Highway near the Constable Gate intersection ­­– it would run between Mortfield Gate and No. 2 Road – to encourage vehicles to reduce speed. 

This would, according to city staff, create better access to the highway.

The diet is on the agenda for the Nov. 20 public works meeting. 

The city conducted a survey of the intersection in response to complaints from Constable Gate residents, who were concerned about the wait times they experience during peak traffic periods – particularly for motorists who want to make a left turn onto Steveston Highway.

Constable Gate
The Constable Gate intersection is currently controlled by a special crosswalk for pedestrians. - Google Maps

While some gaps in traffic are made by the full traffic signals at the nearby intersections along No. 2 Road and Gilbert Road at Steveston Highway, motorists at Constable Gate still experience some delay.

The current traffic control at Constable Gate is a special crosswalk for pedestrians, located on the eastern side of the intersection.

According to a report, the city analyzed the intersection in June to determine whether the special crosswalk should be upgraded to a full traffic signal system.

But the survey found that “only one vehicle had a wait time exceeding two minutes (124 seconds) during the study period.”

And during morning and afternoon peak times, only five of approximately the 50 motorists observed experienced delays between 60 to 100 seconds to turn left onto the highway.

Based on this study, the city found there was no need to upgrade the special crosswalk to a full traffic signal, which confirmed an earlier analysis done in 2016 – and has led to the idea of the road diet.

If the city approves the idea at the next public works meeting on Nov. 20, the diet would be implemented between 2021 and 2022.

This system would be incorporated into a larger proposal to narrow travel lanes along Steveston Highway between Shell Road and Mortfield Gate, to improve road safety and accommodate a future multi-use pathway.

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