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New 'no stopping' signs on northwest Calgary street disrupting parking for residents

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Residents on a street in the community of North Haven are raising concerns about “no stopping” signs that were recently placed near a crosswalk.

Ken Little has been living in the same house on North Haven Drive since 1967.

In all that time he said he hadn't seen a single incident in the crosswalk adjacent to his property, so he was surprised last year when he got a letter from the city saying there were safety concerns about the crossing.

He was even more surprised by the city's solution. In January, it erected no stopping signs for 25 metres on either side of the crosswalk.

“I think we should have had a say in what they're doing. And if we like it or not,” said Little. “I do not like it one little bit. I can't even park in my own front street.”

Not only can Ken and his two neighbours now not park on the street, but they also cannot legally stop in front of their own homes.

“It’s not no parking. It's no stopping, so it makes it worse,” said Jeff Stone, Little’s neighbour. “You can't even theoretically stop there for a second. I guess you can't even stop to drop off your groceries. I guess the UPS guys can’t stop, neither can Canada Post.”

Looking up and down North Haven Drive in either direction will not reveal any similar no-stopping zones at any other crosswalk, even one in front of the nearby elementary school.

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for the city’s mobility department said the city installed traffic calming measures at the crosswalk as part of its “ongoing commitment to ensure safer pedestrian crossings.”

“Following a safety audit, the sightlines to the pedestrian crossing were identified as being substandard,” the statement reads.

The statement went on to say the city is following national guidelines in placing the signs.

“Per Transportation Association of Canada’s Pedestrian Crossing Control Guide, which guides our current safety standards for pedestrian crossings, crossing locations must have adequate sight distance for both drivers and pedestrians. Drivers must be able to detect the pedestrians at the edge of the crossing, identify their intent to cross, decide on the action required, and respond by braking to a comfortable stop,” it said.

“Due to the curvature of this stretch of road, the stopping restrictions are longer than would be typically seen along a straight portion of roadway.”

Little wonders what makes the crosswalk in front of his home uniquely dangerous in the eyes of the city mobility department.

“Unless they can actually show me a study showing that the safety issue, there is no safety issue until they can actually prove it to me. So I think there at this point, those signs should come down.”

Stone worried the newly minted no-stopping zones would have a negative effect on his home's resale value.

“People won’t want to buy a house when they can't park in front of their house. Say they have two kids that have cars. Where do you park? You'll have to go half a block down,” Stone said.

“If you can buy a house (a) half-block down that has parking out front for two, three cars. Which house do you want to buy? So I think the resale value will drop.”

In the letter sent to homeowners preceding the parking change, the city’s mobility department said that signs and markings are assigned to crosswalks based on guidelines from the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC).

“To ensure pedestrians using crosswalks are visible to motorists, TAC requires signage indicating, ’No stopping,’ where there may typically be parking. We have determined that these restrictions should be implemented at this crosswalk to address the safety concerns.

“While this may impact parking in front of your home, we hope you understand the importance of ensuring safe crossing for pedestrians in your neighbourhood.”

Stone says he understands the need for safety, but can’t understand how this change has actually improved intersection.

He has contacted the city through the 311 centre, and his area councillor, Ward Four’s Sean Chu, but has not received a response.

“Nobody is going to look at this, which I find sad. Nobody wants to even have a chat about it. There's no communication at all.”

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