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Traffic fix proposed for Albert-Andrew intersection

'The data at this intersection suggests a higher-than-anticipated number of collisions' - Carl Rumiel, city's manager of design and transportation engineering
Proposal from city staff

Seven years after removing the traffic signals at the Albert-Andrew intersection, city engineering staff are admitting there's a problem.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Carl Rumiel, the city's manager of design and transportation engineering, will propose a solution.

No, it doesn't involve restoring the traffic lights.

Here's what Rumiel will suggest:

  • eliminating one southbound through lane and providing one southbound through/ right-turn lane and one southbound left-turn lane
  • making the eastbound approach on Albert Street stop-controlled
  • eliminating the exclusive eastbound right-turn lane and replacing it with an eastbound through/ right-turn lane
  • eliminating one eastbound receiving lane.

"In 2013 the city traffic division removed the traffic signals at the intersection of Andrew and Albert Streets," Rumiel says in a report to Mayor Provenzano and councillors.

"Following this change, the intersection has experienced a significant number of collisions. In total 36 collisions were reported between March 2017 and December 2019 (34 months)."

"Typically, when traffic signals are removed we would see an initial increase in collisions followed by a steady decrease as motorists become familiar with the change."

"The data at this intersection suggests a higher-than-anticipated number of collisions," Rumiel concedes.

The intersection design is back before City Council in response to the following 2019 resolution from Ward 2 Coun. Luke Dufour and Ward 3's Matthew Shoemaker:

Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie removed the traffic lights at Albert and Andrew Streets in 2013 with the expectation that collisions would decrease over time; and

Whereas Andrew Street and Albert Street current year data indicates an increase in collisions; and

Whereas reports recommending this removal point to the successful transition of Andrew Street and Queen Street to an intersection without signals; and

Whereas the Andrew Street and Queen Street intersection has two lanes with a large concrete barrier to signal drivers to stop, but the Albert Street and Andrew Street intersection has no such barrier; and

Whereas traffic collision data over the past three years shows a larger than normal volume of collisions at Albert and Andrew Streets with nearly all of them being from the right-hand, southbound lanes,

Now therefore be it resolved that traffic and engineering be requested to conduct a traffic safety study of Albert and Andrew Streets with the goal of reducing collisions from the southbound lanes on Andrew Street.

Monday's City Council meeting will take place by teleconference and will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
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