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Speeds clocked at 80 km/h in Steveston residential area

The City of Richmond is looking at how it can calm traffic in the Westwind neighbourhood, possibly using traffic circles
A Richmond News reader is concerned about how traffic circles would impact an already-busy neighbourhood, as seen here on Pintail Drive.

Fifteen per cent of cars were found driving 80 km/h on Kittiwake Drive when the City of Richmond went to check out complaints about speed.

Clearly, there are safety concerns on that street, and the city is considering whether to put in traffic circles to make it safer.

But Steveston resident Allisa Ritchie said, while she recognizes speed can be dangerous on the roads, she is concerned that the city’s suggestion of creating traffic circles on Kittiwake Drive in the Westwind area is going to make it hard for large vehicles to navigate.

The city consulted with residents on Kittiwake Drive after receiving complaints about speeding, asking whether they’d like a traffic circle installed.

Almost two-thirds of residents on Kittiwake responded to the survey, but, at this point, there wasn’t overwhelming support for a traffic circle.                   

However, traffic circles have been shown to reduce collisions by 70 to 80 per cent and reduce the severity of collisions by 70 per cent, explained city spokesperson Clay Adams.

ICBC statistics show there have been 11 collisions on Kittiwake Drive in the past five years.

But Ritchie would have preferred a wider consultation on the issue of new traffic circles, for example, asking residents on Pelican Court, Plover Drive, Plover Court and Pintail Drive – not just on Kittiwake Drive.

“It was only through the neighbourhood grapevine that those people (many more than on Kittiwake) heard about the city proposal,” Ritchie explained. “This happened very late in the game.”

Furthermore, Ritchie is concerned many drivers don’t know how to navigate around traffic circles and might turn left – clockwise - instead of going counter-clockwise around the circle.

“This will cause more accidents,” she said.

On its website, the city states traffic circles are meant to slow down speeds and discourage drivers from short-cutting through residential neighbourhoods.

Furthermore, the city also states traffic circles cut down on vehicle noise, vibration and exhaust compared to other traffic-calming measures like speed humps.

The final point the city makes on its webpage on traffic circles is that they “are new to most drivers in Richmond, so please... Drive Defensively!”

Traffic circles are designed so large emergency vehicles can drive over them, rather than going around as cars are supposed to do, Adams explained, and police, fire and ambulance services prefer them to speed humps.

No decision has been made yet on whether traffic circles will be installed on Kittiwake Drive, Adams added, and the decision might go to city council eventually for a final decision.