It has been popular to complain about many aspects of the famous intersection. Now that the intersection is finally complete, it is time to judge the intersection.
First and foremost, the intersection is safer. Safer for walkers, cyclists and vehicles. No vehicle right turns on red – the same as New York City, Montreal and virtually all of Europe – will result in fewer pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities.
Yes, the traffic light phasing is different. Vehicle movements are timed and sequenced to eliminate conflicting simultaneous movement of vehicles, reducing vehicle to vehicle collisions, injuries and fatalities over time. This is especially true for vehicles turning left against oncoming vehicles, both with green lights.
The intersection sends a message to all visitors that pedestrians and cyclists are valued in our community and helps drivers transition from travelling at 110 to 120 km/h, to 30 to 50 km/h. Slower speeds are safer for everyone.
The intersection will reduce congestion in the long run. Improvements for walkers, cyclists and Roam users will mean more people leaving their vehicles at home to move around the Bow Valley. Congestion is always a problem, during peak times, in any place as spectacular and popular as the Bow Valley. Locals and repeat visitors will soon realize that during peak times, using of one of the other three Trans-Canada Highway interchanges that serve Canmore is faster for many destinations, and less likely to encounter train delays.
The beautiful green grass – yes, it all survived – landscaping, separate wide sidewalks and cycle paths, separate signals for cyclists and walkers, sidewalk braille for the sight impaired, and spectacular new banners, all create a powerful positive initial impression of our community.
Stop lines were also moved back slightly, and traffic lights added near eye level, at all four approaches about one month ago.
Yes, the intersection is different than almost all North American signalized intersections, and it will take some time to fully adjust. It is safer for all, much more attractive, better for all environmentally friendly modes of travel, and results in less overall congestion as Canmore continues to grow.
Please consider an unpopular opinion: Celebrate this effective, attractive, highly visible community investment.