During his 20 year tenure at the District of Invermere, chief administrative officer Chris Prosser estimates he’s seen 20 new stop signs added around town. Stop signs aside, his goal isn’t to halt traffic but simply to slow it down.
His general approach to traffic is to: “try to keep it moving, keep it slow, support pedestrians (and) support cyclists.”
If a DOI grant is approved, two new roundabouts could be coming as early as next summer. These roundabouts would be added at 7th Avenue and 4th Street (between the library and Sobeys) and at 10th Avenue and 4th Street (between Pharmasave and Sobeys).
He said these two intersections are among the top four highest-collision spots in town, along with 3rd Avenue and Laurier Street (the lights in Athalmer by A&W) and 10th Avenue and 13th Street (near the Wilder subdivision).
Not on the list is the offset intersection known colloquially as Malfunction Junction between 7th Avenue and 13th Street (by CIBC and BMO) where even the street-view image on Google Maps shows chaos.
“It is our lowest crash-incident intersection in all of Invermere,” Mr. Prosser said. “It’s because it’s so confusing… It’s been proven that traffic calming with confusion reduces the number of collisions, so it works really well.”
The DOI has looked into other means of regulating the complicated intersection that has one right of way, two stop signs and one yield sign, but a roundabout wouldn’t fit and an extra stop sign wouldn’t work because the right-of-way drivers can’t see as far as they need to go, Mr. Prosser said. Turns out that Malfunction Junction is functioning just fine.
Not doing as well is the Athalmer transition where Laurier Street was narrowed to a single lane to slow traffic down to a reasonable speed.
When Mayor Al Miller heard that some people were dodging through a parking lot to shortcut through the 3rd Avenue and Laurier Street intersection, he said: “You can’t control for stupidity.”
Mr. Prosser seconded his sentiments in softer terms, saying: “We’ve observed some not-very-bright traffic movements.”
The DOI is working on reprogramming those traffic lights and may consider installing a roundabout there at some point in the future.
Even with impatient drivers and an apparent “lack of respect for pedestrians” in the downtown area, Mr. Prosser said reported accidents are few. In 2017, for instance, he said there were nine reported accidents.