Sidney traffic study on hold

Committee reviews report; council delays to get more info

Sidney’s recent traffic study will be delayed until the town can analyze the impact of some local events on vehicle movement in town.

Town council and staff have been meeting with appointed committees on the issue and on April 8 attended a presentation on the report by consulting firm Urban Systems at the fire hall. That evening at their regular meeting, council voted 4-3 to delay further presentations of the report to the business community — and to the public.

Councillor Mervyn Lougher-Goodey said he wanted the traffic study put on hold until the town could determine the impact on traffic of the new business improvement area, new roundabout and the summer markets on Beacon Avenue.

A debate over semantics ensued, with council changing Lougher-Goodey’s motion to include the word “delayed” instead of “on hold.”

“I don’t want this to be (put aside) too long,” said Councillor Marilyn Loveless, who suggested the word change.

Mayor Larry Cross said he wanted the study to go back to staff first for further information.

“Council does want to have a larger public discussion on it,” he said, “once its costs are determined.”

Cross said staff can continue to work on the study, noting council won’t consider more recommendations until later in the year.

In March, council approved minor changes to local traffic infrastructure, including signal changes at Seventh Street and Beacon Avenue, stop bar and stop sign relocation, new pedestrian markings and adding shared-lane markings.

The report also addressed the controversial issue of Beacon Avenue’s one-way segment, stating traffic issues are not significant enough to warrant change at this time. Any change, the consultant noted, would have to be done in consultation with the business community and general public.

The traffic movement study is posted on the town’s website.