Bragg Creek stop sign shouldn't stop Calgarians from visiting: Chamber president
CALGARY -- Officials in Bragg Creek are asking Calgarians not to let the prospect of a long wait at a stop sign stop them from making the short trek to visit the hamlet just west of the city.
Bragg Creek and Area Chamber of Commerce president Kathleen Burk says reports on social media earlier this summer of long waits at the four-way stop sign at Highway 22 and Highway 758 were repeated on radio traffic reports, leading to fewer people visiting, and in turn, a dip in business.
"We're seeing less and less of a traffic problem and we don't want that to dissuade people from coming out and enjoying what we have to share with them. We've got world-class restaurants, unique, creative gift shops, we've got trails, mountain biking trails … we've got free parking."
Traffic backups are known to form, especially for vehicles heading west on Highway 22 toward Calgary but Burk said they haven't been seeing delays as often this year.
"I think the misconceptions that the four-way stop is always busy have possibly brought business down 50 to 60 per cent, it has had a devastating impact," she said.
"That's on top of (coronavirus). We're still out there with our doors open, ready and waiting, and I think if people didn't have the impression that they would certainly be held up at the four-way stop for 45 minutes, I think Bragg Creek would be overflowing with tourists and visitors and supporters.
"People are missing out on these glorious spots because they fear they'll be in traffic for an hour and we're not seeing that this year.
"Our four way stop is notoriously slow," she added, "however this year it has not been as it has been in the past."
She said the hamlet's close proximity to Calgary makes it an ideal destination for a day trip.
"We're only 25 minutes away," she said. "We've got free parking, trail access, world-class trails for hiking downhill (and) mountain biking, and scenic falls."
However, one coffee shop staff member said the cumbersome intersection is a big reason people are reluctant to visit.
The staff at Cinnamon Spoon look out at the intersection every day, and say traffic backups are normal, even in a quieter summer like 2020.
"The intersection, it's been insane," said employee Devanee Clark.
Clark, who is a local, says the intersection has been generally busier for longer periods this year, even without international visitors.
"I find that the traffic and business increases even during the week," said Clark, "whereas last summer, it was a lot more congested during the weekends."
Clark added that the more traffic there is, the less business the Cinnamon Spoon gets.
"People are deterred from coming here just because it's so hard to re-enter traffic, or even come here," she said.
"We play a game actually, the road rage game, trying to tally how much we get in a day."
Clark says business has hit a brick wall this year, due to COVID-19, and fewer people feeling safe from entering stores.