City of Kamloops considering changes to address delays at busy Lansdowne intersection

Lansdowne congestion fix?

The City of Kamloops is eyeing a turning lane adjustment at a busy downtown intersection, citing a need to improve the flow of traffic flow and reduce delays for motorists.

Purvez Irani, the city’s transportation manager, told council during Tuesday's meeting that city staff has looked into ways of improving traffic flow at the intersection of Lansdowne Street and First Avenue, where vehicles end up queuing — especially during peak hours.

He noted a possible short-term change involves converting the southbound left hand turn lane from First Avenue to Victoria Street into a northbound left hand turn lane serving cars travelling from First Avenue to Lansdowne and West Victoria Street.

“We will see delays reduced by 30 per cent, which is quite significant in the traffic engineering field. Also, what it does is allows more green time to be passed on to Lansdowne and your queues are going to be shorter,” Irani said, showing council a projection of traffic impacts.

“You will see hardly any queuing occurring on Lansdowne, and you don't have any queuing that extends all the way to Seymour, you don't have any queuing extending to Victoria Street.”

Irani said before 2014, there wasn’t any connection between Lorne Street and First Avenue, and Lansdowne flowed freely through that area with a pedestrian-controlled intersection.

In 2014, the intersection was reconfigured, providing a connection from Lorne Street to downtown. At the request of downtown businesses, a southbound left hand turn lane was created to allow cars on First Avenue to access Victoria Street. This was chosen instead of a northbound left turn lane.

Irani noted traffic data shows 21 cars currently make the southbound left hand turn to Victoria Street during peak hours, while there are more than 230 cars navigating the northbound left turn from First Avenue.

Because there’s no dedicated left turn lane, the traffic signals were adjusted to ensure traffic doesn’t queue back to Seymour Street.

“We put in, number one, a split phasing system, and number two, we had to provide First Avenue with additional green time so that the northbound left movement had enough green time to accommodate the 235 turns that were happening,” Irani said.

“That meant taking away green time from Lansdowne — so Lansdowne got less time and that's why Lansdowne backs up.”

Kamloops council directed staff to start up a public engagement process so the city can hear from the community and businesses about the proposed changes to the intersection.

After that process takes place, staff will report back to council about their findings.

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