Consultant says new plan will also look at increasing number of roundabouts in city

Thunder Bay traffic light

Improving the synchronicity of Thunder Bay’s traffic lights is part of a new transportation master plan that’s being drawn up. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

Consultants working on the new transportation master plan for the city of Thunder Bay, Ont., say part of the planning will include better coordination of traffic signals.

“There are some improvements to be made in terms of what we call cycle length,” said Brian Hollingworth, the lead consultant with IBI Group Inc., the company developing the master plan for the city. “A lot of people’s frustration [with] delays come from the fact that the cycle lengths in, particularly, the downtown parts are quite long.”

The cycle length refers to the length of time it takes for a traffic light to pass through one complete change from red to green and back to red.

“Particularly at night, shortening the cycle length reduces the delays,” Hollingworth added.

Traffic signals are just one part of ongoing work to revamp the city’s planning guidelines that govern transportation in the city. Street design, bike lanes, transit routes and how best to get people and goods around town are all under the microscope as part of the review.

Brian Hollingworth

Brian Hollingworth is the director of transportation with the IBI Group Inc. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

The most recent transportation plan was drawn up in 1989 and focussed largely on automobiles; more recent trends in active transportation — like walking and cycling — have necessitated different ways of thinking when it comes to urban design.

Options like replacing traffic lights with roundabouts, or traffic circles, are also being considered.

“Intersection improvements would go a long way to addressing the traffic hotspots … without [a] massive change,” Hollingworth said.

The city is hosting its final open house Tuesday, starting at 4 p.m. to gather input from residents on the master plan. It is scheduled to go before council for approval in December.

Source: CBC News