Changes to First Avenue have caused traffic chaos

Changes to First Avenue have caused traffic chaos

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Editor:

After observing the work being done on the lane access at First Avenue and Victoria Street for many months, and after having experienced the ensuing traffic issues as a result, I can’t believe the amount of chaos it has created at the end of the work day. There are many problems now.

When you reach the stop sign at First after going west on Victoria, you have one way to turn, right — if you are able to. Because motorists no longer have a way to turn left, they make u-turns in the middle of the street, often.

As a result of the median and the left turn lane from First onto Victoria, and the crosswalk from city hall, people who are turning right from Victoria can’t get into the line of traffic on First.

There is nowhere for them to go or line up, so they sit at the corner with their signal on, hoping a motorist will allow them to zipper merge.

A lineup forms down Victoria Street. Those people try to push in. Drivers in the First Avenue lineup try to stop them from getting in.

Everyone just wants to get home.

The next issue is trying to get in or out of the back laneway at First and Victoria.

At the end of the work day, traffic is generally backed up coming down First to Lansdowne Street, so the laneway is blocked. It can also block the parkade or parking lot exits so people can’t even get into the laneway. 

The light at First and Lansdowne is so short that cars are at times lined up almost to Seymour Street.

Pedestrians are crossing in between the cars lined up on First Avenue and crossing at First and Victoria in front of waiting cars. This stops traffic from going through when the light is green for a very brief period of time.

It’s very frustrating and it’s apparent by how people are racing to make the light from any direction.

Perhaps making the green light longer would give motorists time to dissipate and installing a left hand turn from Victoria to First would alleviate the problems.

Maybe a crosswalk signal from city hall to the Cornerstone building would help, as well. I hope something will be done to resolve these problems.

Jackie Wray

Kamloops

23 COMMENTS

      • Fluffy de Duff:
        Handicapped people need better access to the buses…able bodies also need better access to the buses so they can get home faster, without confusion, without pollution and no parking hassles to boot!
        A better transit system would solve so many problems…money better spent than a flippin’ parkade…

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  1. I like how people use “Zipper Merge” to justify them not stopping for traffic that has the right of way!
    Do people not realize that a stop sign is there and you must stop and yield the right of way to the traffic on First. If I stop and let you in, and I get rear ended, then I am at fault for the accident.

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  2. It makes no sense that they force drivers, who only want to go up First, to drive all the way around the block housing City Hall and BC Lottery. The congestion at the First Ave and Lansdowne intersection would be relieved and drivers would be able to take a much more direct route to their destination. But, that makes too much sense for Kamloops!

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  3. We have a small city, with a small and increasingly unpopular downtown. If you wait a couple of years, the only traffic heading there will be various government offices, although the changes have made it really tough to get to city hall to complain.

    Our city … “managers?” … seem to want to create a Vancouver feeling without the size of Vancouver. To that end, they have succeeded greatly. Ron James’ observation of LA freeways applies to Kamloops’ during rush minute: “Traffic moves with all the speed and grace of a piece of undigested pork moving through the small intestine.”

    But I can’t let the opportunity pass and not repeat one of my favourite pet peeves in this rant: If they could learn how to synchronize traffic lights, much of the rush minute problem would be over. They have successfully created traffic packs at times of the day when there should be none.

    But why listen to us, we’re just tax payers.

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    • You think Kamloops has an unpopular downtown, try looking elsewhere. Prince George for starters.
      I happen to like our downtown. If you don’t like it, how about some positive suggestions as to improvements instead of slamming it.

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      • 1) synchronize lights

        2) make parking free – Walmart does, Safeway does. Canadian Tire does – and that’s the kind of store that gets shoppers – added bonus: You get to get rid of the bad parking kiosks and half the by-law officers. Yes, you need to create more parking lots too, but if street parking was free, it would make many things easier. Why are Storm games attended less now than on Mac Island freezer? NO FLIPPING PARKING – especially for older or disabled fans.

        3) work on reducing the homeless population that loiter or beg in the streets. Did you notice how few were out bugging people when there was an office on 3rd avenue that helped them and gave them a place to congregate for coffee?

        4 Remove old vacant buildings that have been empty for years and have no hope of re-opening. There are dozens. Create extra parking, green spaces and even some outdoor recreation areas. One vacant lot can host several food trucks, instead of tying up two or more precious parking spots.

        5) Make bus service in the downtown corps free. For years, Winnipeg Transit had a DASH bus that circled businesses in the downtown – fare box covered.

        6) Stop putting in stupid roundabouts that busses and trucks can’t navigate and most drivers don’t know how to use.

        7) give busiest intersections an all-pedestrian green light. When the walk sign comes up, you can walk from any corner to any corner even diagonally. When the traffic moves, let the green lights last longer.

        8) Instead of blowing millions on communities in bloom, invest in sidewalks that aren’t sloped so badly and cracked or bricked and cause people to fall.

        9) remove ALL snow from the sides of the downtown streets so people can open the passenger doors, so they can get from the street onto the sidewalk without an alpine hike, so they can get back to their car without falling into the street.

        10) Make the downtown a destination, instead of a chore. When there are events like Hot night etc, people come in droves. Obviously, you can’t do that often, but you can make the downtown have SOME destination value like the Farmers’ Market does on Wednesdays.

        11) One-way streets are great if you want to funnel traffic through, but they are bad for pedestrian activity and retail opportunities. Two-way streets create a more comfortable pedestrian environment and have been shown to increase property values. There’s a reason that the Main Streets that sit at the urban core of small towns and cities are almost always two-way streets.

        12 The most successful downtown districts have many major functions (employment, residential, entertainment, shopping, etc.). A key ingredient for creating a diverse downtown district is to have major destinations that draw people to downtown for reasons other than employment. Many cities have pursued professional sports teams for this reason.
        13 A downtown that offers a new, exciting entertainment district (yes, like the hated, deposed but necessary Arts Centre) provide residents with a reason to check out what is going on in the centre of their community. A major upside of this strategy is that it can help to turn around the perceptions and reality of downtowns that have are not vibrant. Recently, Oklahoma City (and to a smaller degree Kansas City) redeveloped vacant downtown buildings into restaurants, hotels and theatres and the downtown is now one of the most vibrant in the USA.

        14 Provide incentives to bring in a large downtown department store where vacant buildings now sit. Or even better, a downtown mall compete with parking. You can combine shopping and entertainment options in one place.

        15 This is a document called “The 20 Ingredients of an Outstanding Downtown.” A quick look shows that we have all but 20 of them.

        http://www.rogerbrooksinternational.com/20_Ingredients_Handout.pdf

        There you go Poleman … I did a little, what have you got to add?

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        • Much of the stuff you write about has been brought up already many times with council members and senior managers. Other things you mentioned are a bit off…we already have a great big sports arena and a locally major sport team working away downtown. We also already have a mall with great parking, which does happen to be free, in the downtown.

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          • First of all, what are your ideas, Pierre?

            Right.

            Second of all, Landscowne is hardly a mall. It’s a glorified strip mall with a glandular problem.

            Looking forward to your list of ideas.

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          • Dear JP-W:
            My ideas, many of them, are to be found everywhere on these blogs and in the frequent emails to council. So happened that I fully endorse some of the “ideas” you have listed and none of them are new.
            Some of them though, as I already highlighted, are pointless and unjustified regardless of your stubbornness.

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        • Mr Winston. You are very confident in your opinions from reading your comments. Good on you but, you just spent a lot of my money so,,, I’d like to give you my opinion, if you don’t mind.
          Try to remember I have one vote just like you and I pay into the pot just like you.

          First, we are not Oklahoma City, Kansas City or even Kelowna yet. That means way less in “petty cash” percent wise. We need to plan and crunch the numbers more simply because we have less to spend.
          It doesn’t cost a big city anymore to build a PAC than a small city so in a small city, each resident pays more out of their pocket for each and every brick. In essence, the smaller the city the bigger the individuals commitment to future taxes to have big city stuff.
          That means, to me anyway, if we wish to move forward at a sustainable pace for a small city, we take care of the easy and cheap stuff sooner than later and plan on the bigger stuff in a realistic-to-the-cash-flow (read,,, population) vision.
          If I wanted to be crude, I could point out, if you really need big city stuff, it’s really easiest just to move to the big city.

          Let me go point by point and give you my opinion on you opinion.

          #1 Ahh,,, don’t know if this is a big deal to me. I hate rushing, which is why I live in a small city, so traffic lights really don’t bother me. Kinda gives me a chance to gawk at characters and such.

          #2 Nothing is free Mr. Winston. The malls and stores pay for the parking lot and maintenance to attract customers. Why should we (tax payers) pay for this service for the big mall called downtown.
          I believe we installed meters to keep people moving and make room for a new customer at the request of downtown business. Maybe, to be fair, we should just hand it back.
          #3 100% agree. When family and friends visit, they take a trip downtown for something to do ’cause I’m just not a shopper. Never a parking issue, ’cause they got time, but often they feel intimidated and confused.
          Intimidated because of drugs and booze, especially if they made a wrong turn in their walk. Confused because of lack of directions (so you don’t make the wrong turn) and store front signage (they don’t know what they really want ’cause they’re tourists).
          #4 Didn’t know there was dozens of empty buildings (except for one lol). If there is we need to do something about it but not pay to have it done.
          Investors buy buildings to make money but if they sit on it and cause an issue for Kamloops we need to let them know.
          Double the taxes after a year empty. Tripple after 4 yrs of empty. They are business people with skills for profit. We don’t need to help them. It won’t take them long to decide to sell, develop or level if we talk to them in the language they understand.
          #5 Again, free buses is a business subsidy IMO. You want it, cough up some coin even if just cost of service.
          #6 MO is roundabouts aren’t stupid but maybe users can be. Proper size is important but again it’s not the roundabout’ fault for this.
          #7 I like that idea a lot. Hopefully it doesn’t confuse those that can’t figure out a roundabout.
          #8 Agree on the non-native plantings but have to point out some urban centers (big city) have listened to residents and their wish to have character on their streets.
          2% everywhere is boring but easy to draw. New wave is meandering, following existing property grades and giving more of a small city feel.
          Maybe we are ahead of the game here and just need to see it.
          #9 I get a wind row of snow from the plow too. Hard to clean up sometimes. Aberdeen pays big coin to clear snow and the lessee’s pay for it.
          Guess what I am saying is, if downtown gets special snow clearing for free then the many pay for the few again and that doesn’t sit right with me.
          Maybe a deal with a private contractor or if that doesn’t sit right with those effected, maybe just accept it for the short time it is there.
          #10 Hot Night, Farmers market, food trucks, ice cream carts, music in the streets,,, ya do it. Easy too. Just give someone the opportunity to make a profit from their attraction and they will come.
          #11 Don’t see that as an issue yet since the two one ways are pretty much one side streets anyway. Which comes first the chicken or the egg.
          #12 Umm, we got the Blazers and the Canucks are still not ready to be sent to Kamloops. Any other suggestions without spending my money Mr. Winston?
          #13 Big city,,, Little city and cash flow. That’s my perspective anyway.
          #14 What is stopping those big investors and investments now? Maybe it’s not a good business model yet? Shouldn’t mean WE take it on because We probably won’t make any money either but maybe,,,.

          MO is every public investment beyond infrastructure should be looked at from private investment point of view. Otherwise it is just an additional cost (read higher taxes) and never becomes an asset.

          Thanx for letting me add.

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          • Lots of money no question. But, not all ideas have to be done at once. Not all ideas have to be done. Not all money needs to be taxpayers. We have corporations that sponsor entertainment, I am sure some would sponsor more profits for themselves.

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  4. They did this because the odd tourist got confused. As if learning to read a map & street signs was too much of an expectation. The worst part is that the light is not timed with the other timed lights downtown.

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  5. I don’t think anyone can dispute that the changes made to the intersections of First Ave, Victoria St, and Lansdowne St, are not for the better. It was a mistake to remove the straight thru lane from Victoria St that allowed a merge into traffic on Lansdowne St… all that traffic now has to lineup at the light.

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