Saint-Lazare installs traffic lights at Chemin Saint-Louis and Bédard Avenue
By John Jantak
PHOTO BY LAUREN MITCHELL
The installation of traffic lights at this intersection in Saint-Lazare – which sees regular traffic build-up during rush hour – is hoped to mitigate the situation for frustrated motorists.
Following years of discussion and debate on how to best address the rush hour traffic flow that clogs the Saint-Lazare intersection of Bédard Avenue and Chemin Saint-Louis, traffic lights have finally been installed last week.
The lights are intended to ease the traffic congestion that normally occurs each weekday during the morning and afternoon rush hours, Mayor Robert Grimaudo told The Journal.
“Council made a decision based on the budget that was allotted and I hope this helps to alleviate the congestion that comes off the highway,” said Grimaudo.
Operational by end of next week
“Right now the traffic lights are flashing red which requires people to make an obligatory stop at each intersection. The lights haven’t been programmed yet but they should be fully functional by the end of next week,” Grimaudo added.
The sensors on the traffic lights will indicate the number of vehicles that are at the intersection and switch according to the flow of traffic and backlog of cars during each sequence.
The issue of what will happen to the four corner lots was raised during question period at the start of the monthly council meeting that was livestreamed on Tuesday evening, December 8. “I’m not sure what will happen. Council has not discussed it at this point. We don’t know yet,” said Grimaudo.
Councillor Richard Chartrand suggested the expropriated land could be used for pedestrian crosswalks or bicycle paths. “That’s a possibility but we haven’t looked into it yet. We don’t know what we’re going to do with those four very small lots,” said Grimaudo.
Traffic lights or roundabout
Residents and former council members had sparred on what the most cost effective solution would be – lights or a roundabout.
As reported in The Journal in 2017, Mayor Grimaudo advocated for the traffic circle saying it would cost the town $600,000 less compared to the installation of lights – the higher price tag because the project at the time also included left turning lanes and a reinforced conduit for an underground Hydro-Québec transmission line.
An earlier study conducted in 2005 revealed that traffic lights would not accommodate the town’s expected population growth.
According to the study conducted in 2018 by Léger market research that was posted on the town’s website, 65 percent of the 400 participants who took part were in favour of the installation of a traffic circle. When asked why they favored a traffic circle, there were three responses: it’s the best solution, avoids unnecessary waiting at traffic lights and is the least expensive solution.
The 29 percent not in favour of the traffic circle solution responded that other solutions such as traffic lights were available, there weren’t any real problems at the intersection, and that a traffic circle was very expensive and dangerous. “I’m not 100 per cent sure whether or not this will resolve the traffic situation but this was council’s decision,” said Grimaudo at the time.