(Here’s a letter that Andre Hallam wrote to councillor Shad Qadri, with some ideas for improvements to Huntmar Drive. Pictured above is the intersection of Huntmar and Maple Grove, recently reconfigured with new traffic lights.)
I am writing to suggest changes to Huntmar Drive that could improve traffic flow drastically.
First, with the new lights at Maple Grove, they have now split the northbound lanes on Huntmar into two – one combining straight-through and left turns, and the other for right turns only. This results in people wanting to go straight being held up and waiting for people to turn left, which can be a long time. That’s just silly.
Swapping this to combine straight-through with the right-turn lane would make far more sense, since people turning right don’t have to wait on a green light, and that lane flows better. Straight-through traffic needs to keep flowing, and should not be held up – this is actually worse than the four-way stop sign, as you are there much longer than you should be… and often you never make it through the green light at all before it changes red again!
Second, going south on Huntmar at Hazeldean has issues. If you want to turn left/east onto Hazeldean, you are slowed by two things:
1) The left turn arrow only works on weekends, not on weekdays at all, never mind at rush hour, and not based on the number of cars waiting. I don’t get this logic of assisting our turns on weekends.
2) Cars coming northbound on Iber turning right (east) onto Hazeldean always have the right of way, thus making the people turning left wait even longer. This also causes some people turning left to “steal” the right of way, cutting off the people turning right. This is very dangerous, but it happens every day as people want to make their turn before the light changes. I’ve been tempted myself, but hold off.
Obviously the fix for #1 is to enable the left arrow on weekdays. I don’t think we really need it on weekends. It simply doesn’t make sense. Alternatively/additionally, install a loop/sensor in the road to detect when there’s people waiting in the turn lane. Or even better, make it like the Hazeldean lights, which are fully controlled, having turn cycles separate from the green cycle. That would make the intersection safer now that traffic levels are increasing on Iber.
The fix for #2 is to make a little right-turn ramp with a yield sign for cars turning right off Iber – like the one on the opposite corner on Huntmar.
I know that “engineers” have probably already looked at all these things, and made their best decisions, but I drive on Huntmar daily, and I can see that these decisions don’t work, and these simple changes would make things work a lot better.