Community association working closely with residents and city to find a solution
As car horns honk, the high beams of headlights and drivers mouthing vulgar language can be seen and heard as passengers try to leave or enter the neighborhood of Auburn Bay.
It is 3:16 p.m. and residents along Seton Boulevard have been stuck in traffic for 15 minutes due to the construction around the new hospital.
Traffic problems in the southeast of Calgary have become a recurring issue discussed amongst volunteer members of the Auburn Bay Community Association.
Two years ago, the mission of the community association was established with members of the community working closely towards a common goal.
"We want to see Auburn Bay become an outstanding community," said James Sale, president of the Auburn Bay Community Association.
However, the new community of approximately 9,700 people is growing, and with this comes the Seton development and the ring road construction.
The Seton development is directly south of Auburn Bay and surrounds the new hospital. With the amount of workers around the hospital alone, there is traffic congestion that causes major delays to residents.
"Once these buildings are occupied and the developments open up, there is the possibility for traffic issues like that of 130th Avenue [SE]," said Sale. "There are always delays in that development and the possibility remains for the same issues to occur."
The ring road construction affects the traffic at both entrances of Auburn Bay: the Highway 22X and 52nd Street SE intersection, and the Seton Boulevard and Deerfoot Trail ramps.
The sounds from Deerfoot Trail are becoming more noticeable for residents within this area, as the on and off ramps are being structured only five meters from their property lines.
"When we purchased our house through the homebuilder, we asked about sound barriers and they said it shouldn't be necessary. It is quite noisy so something like that will be needed in the future," said Lee Hicks, a resident of Cranberry Lane and whose backyard faces Deerfoot Trail.
Auburn Bay is also struggling with the safety of pedestrians on the roads due to lack of traffic signs and frequent cases of speeding.
"There is no respect for the construction workers who work in the area," said Dawn Marion, a resident of the nearby Cranston community.
"There is a lot of speeding. It has to be controlled a lot better. I fear for my kids' safety on these roads and I fear for my own safety on these roads. There are not enough traffic lights or stop signs."
Sale agreed: "There seems to be a trend of building infrastructure such as traffic lights and traffic measures after the problems prove themselves, rather than planning ahead and building them before."
In the past the community association has lobbied to get stop signs and crosswalks installed, all of which were successfully implemented. Residents in Auburn Bay can only hope the traffic issues will be managed soon.
"The traffic issues do need addressing," said Hicks. "There are a lot of things that need to be fixed, like signage, traffic control and police presence to catch speeders and those who do not obey some of the signs that are in place."
According to the City of Calgary, there are a number of challenges in the Auburn Bay area in terms of planning for traffic management.
"The community is quite new and traffic factors depend on both the developer and the province and when and what they decide to develop," said Julie Yepishina-Geller, communications advisor for the City of Calgary's transportation infrastructure department.
"For example, we will have to wait until the hospital is complete to see how it will have different impacts on traffic flow in the area."
The community association and residents in the area are trying to come to terms with the present construction developments affecting the surrounding neighborhoods.
"The community association is working with the City of Calgary and residents to alleviate these current traffic issues... however [either] the developers [or the] City have decided not to put lights up on Seton Boulevard until there is an overwhelming demand," said Sale in an email.
The intersection at Auburn Bay Gate/Seton Way and Seton Boulevard does not currently have any signal lights. This intersection was evaluated in April 2011 and scored 18 points out of the required 100 points.
"The City will continue to monitor this area as it gets developed and if the traffic volumes reach the warranted level, we will look into the traffic management devices such as installing signals," said Yepishina-Geller.
As the City of Calgary is being pushed to determine a solution to the Seton development and the ring road construction, which is set to be completed in the fall of 2012, all the community association and the residents can do is patiently wait.
"There is not much we can do about the road construction other than get used to it," said Sale.