The Rimbey Community Centre was the site of an open house on Oct. 31 aimed at gathering feedback on possible future changes to Highway 53 to divert traffic congestion in the community’s downtown core.
“We’re just looking at Highway 53 through the town of Rimbey to see how the operations are working now and how we can improve the highway through the community,” said Stuart Richardson of Alberta Transportation. “Another part of the study is to look at conceptual bypass ideas of Highway 53 in particular. We want to see if there is a need for a bypass based on traffic volumes and demands.”
Options tossed around during the open house included reducing speed limits entering the community from the west and north, providing easier access to and exits from Highway 53 further back from the town limits.
Specifically, the issue of the four-way corner in downtown Rimbey where Highways 53 and 20A intersect was raised at length by residents.
“Many people are saying there’s an awful lot of heavy trucks heading west. The trucks cut into the side lanes so we may have to try and re-align that intersection and improve it,” Richardson said. “There’s also an issue of angle parking in the downtown area, so we’ll be looking at that as well.”
Further, because the trucks require much more room to turn, significant damage has occurred to curbs and boulevards at the intersection. As well, statistics supplied by Alberta Transportation indicate that of the 67 collisions reported to have occurred in the downtown core between 2003 and 2007, almost half involved parked vehicles leaving some to consider the removal of angle parking and replacing it with parallel parking.
According to Richardson, the information gathered at the open house will be processed and analyzed, and will be made public during another open house in 2010.