Spent an interesting hour sipping a Starbucks and watching traffic at the corner of Erbsville and Laurelwood this morning between 8 am and 9 am. Here is a picture around 8:20 am. As you can see,there is no problem. The problems start at around 8:25 am and last for a half hour as the students at the high school and elementary school arrive.
Here is a picture of the problem. There are advanced greens on Erbsville at this corner and left and right turn lanes on this corner to assist traffic heading into the school and right turn lanes onto Laurelwood. These work, although on a rainy day when parents drive their kids to school, Helen, a resident standing with me, says the traffic backs up along Erbsvile, slowing traffic at the roundabout at Erb St. The problem is that traffic turning left onto Erbsville during that busy half hour, must turn into a single lane. Traffic from Columbia Forest picks that time to go to work, drop off kids. People are driving down Laurelwood to the University and RIM and other tech businesses. Other cars are turning right onto Erbsville during the whole duration of the green light. Cars can only turn left for the short time that the light turns yellow but even then, cars are turning right into the single lane.
There were also many students crossing the round, correctly, so the cars couldn’t turn left. Students also cross a half block down at the school. Also the school asks parents to park behind the school when dropping kids off. That takes the cars away from this intersection. But still saw parents stopping and letting kids off at the intersection and blocking traffic. Perhaps the police have issued some warnings or tickets to the kids who were crossing against the lights.
Here is a picture of the traffic backed up on Laurelwood. There is a left hand turn lane for the cars turning left. This line up only lasts while the light is red. Areas that staff will change have cars waiting through three red lights before they can turn. Actually an advanced green won’t solve the problem because cars will still be turning right on a red into the single lane and stopping cars from turning left. A no right turn sign would totally block the other side.
Some observations.1 Boy there are a lot of tech and university workers living in north Waterloo!
2 When it is raining, get your kids a raincoat, especially the high school kids. Help prevent childhood obesity and smog!
3 I saw a school special go by as well as #13 Laurelwood. There is a need for more direct busing to SJAM in Laurelwood and Columbia Forest. I will continue pushing for improvements in 2011.
4 Saw many elementary students walking to school.
5 If you don’t need to be in the SJA area at that time in the morning, go to Columbia St. (This may not work for some of the workers, depending on the configuration of the subdivision. I know some of those streets only empty onto Laurelwood. Hurray for city planning!)
Staff are going to look at the corner to see what can be done, but I may not get a solution for this one.
Tomorrow, What’s happening at the Erb and Ira Needles roundabout.