After receiving a complaint from a driver who rear-ended another vehicle at Second and Columbia Street this summer, City council has opted to put the question of whether the intersection needs safety improvements to the public.
Council voted Tuesday to write a letter back to Bob Mitchell about the upcoming public consultations on the widening of Columbia Street between Third and Sixth avenues. The widening is being done in conjunction with construction at Royal Inland Hospital.
Mitchell wrote council calling for Second to be closed off from left turns by eastbound traffic travelling down Columbia Street. He was headed to Hot Night in the City in August when a driver one car ahead of him suddenly signaled and hit the brakes to make the turn at Second.
City development and engineering services director Marvin Kwiatkowski said the intersection has come up several times over the years. Third and Columbia has more collisions — ICBC puts the count there at 126 compared with 38 at Second and Columbia over a five-year period — but the pros and cons of closing Second will be considered, he said.
Kwiatkowski noted the City would want to get neighbourhood input as well as looking into fire response access to the area.
Coun. Pat Wallace said when the closure is being considered, she hoped someone would look at the length of the left-turn lane at Third, which at times can get backed up. She has used Second to avoid congestion at Third, which is prone to getting stacked up often, she said.
Closing Second Avenue could make that problem worse, Wallace said.
“That will create another problem for the travellers.”
Part of the widening project involves adding left-turn lanes at Fourth and Fifth avenues, which should take some of the traffic off the left turn at Third, Kwiatkowski said.