The intersection of Two Mile Hill and Range Road could be in for significant changes in the coming years.
The City of Whitehorse has posted three possibilities for the intersection on its website and will be hosting an Aug. 31 webinar focused on the potential changes before launching a survey about the conceptual designs.
As Taylor Eshpeter explained in an Aug. 25 interview, the intersection was identified for improvements a few years ago given both safety concerns and increased use as the Whistle Bend neighbourhood continues to grow.
“It was on our radar,” Eshpeter said.
To that end, Associated Engineering was contracted to look at the issues and came up with the three designs that would make it safer and easier for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians to move through the area. Each of the three options provide new ways for transit, other vehicles and active transportation to go through the intersection.
The first option outlined on the city’s web page would retain the current vehicle lane configuration on both Range Road and Two Mile Hill Road. Right turns on red lights would be prohibited as a way to reduce conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists. There would also be separate walking and cycling crossings with curb extensions and high-visibility crossings to reduce crossing distances for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, and priority to transit would be given to reduce bus delays.
Another option proposes separate walking and cycling crossings with changes to the signals so that traffic would move in intervals for turning as well as those moving straight through the intersection. A westbound bus lane, which would also allow right-turning traffic, is proposed along with an additional eastbound lane on Two Mile Hill to accommodate the updated traffic signal timing. It’s noted that will result in increased crossing distances for cyclists and pedestrians.
Finally, the third option highlighted on the city’s website also shows the separate walking and cycling crossings with high-visibility markings on the pavement and signs to highlight areas where there may be pedestrian/cyclist and vehicle conflict. There could also be right-turn islands for the northbound and southbound right-turn lanes, though it’s also noted this may increase conflicts between cyclists and right-turn traffic on Range Road.
The westbound bus lane, which would also allow right-turning traffic, is also proposed in this option to reduce bus delays.
While a public meeting or open house would typically be held to present the concepts, Eshpeter said that given current restrictions due to COVID-19, the webinar was scheduled to provide an alternative to that. During the virtual meeting, the three options will be presented and a discussion will follow. Residents can register for the webinar here.
The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing on the city’s website after Sept. 1 with a survey set to open to the public following the webinar. The survey will be available on the city’s website until Sept. 14.
The input and information gained through the survey will be used as work moves forward on a detailed design in 2021. Eshpeter highlighted the importance of taking the time on the project for the busy intersection.
“We want to get this one right,” he said.
Construction is anticipated for 2022 at the earliest.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org