Iqaluit city councillors discuss forthcoming transportation master plan

“We’re not interested in moving vehicles, we’re interested in moving people”

Iqaluit city councillors spent part of their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25, giving feedback to a delegation from Nunami Stantec, a consulting firm that is spending the week in Iqaluit conducting public engagement activities for a transportation master plan for the city. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

Every so often drivers in Iqaluit find themselves bumper to bumper waiting for their turn to pass through the Four Corners on their way to wherever they may be going.

This week, Nunami Stantec, a consulting firm, is in town to hear about issues like this as they develop a transportation master plan for the city that will provide a roadmap for the future.

As part of their visit this week, Nunami Stantec spoke with councillors during Tuesday night’s council meeting about what they’d like to see in a transportation master plan.

Their presentation follows two days of public engagement around the city and an online survey.

According to Lesley Cabott, a planning lead for Nunami Stantec, as of Tuesday night’s meeting, the public response has been good, with around 60 attendees at a public meeting at the aquatic centre the night before and almost 100 responses to the transportation master plan online survey.

Last night, it was the council’s turn.

Before getting into specifics, Coun. Kyle Sheppard asked what the council could expect from the final report.

“What do you expect? What is your win?” replied Cabott.

The delegation is just beginning the master plan process and right now its scope is wide open.

At one point during the evening, Brandon Orr, a transportation project manager with Nunami Stantec, said, “We’re not interested in moving vehicles, we’re interested in moving people.”

From there the suggestions poured in, including a bus system, sidewalks, changes to problematic intersections, and snowmobile crossings.

There were also discussions around other well-worn topics, including traffic congestion at the Four Corners and the recently contested issue of parking.

In addition to the movement of people, part of last night’s discussion also focused on the movement of goods, particularly around current and future sealift operations.

“Certainly, with the deep-sea port, that’s a very important piece of infrastructure that’s coming into the city,” said Orr.

“We’re going to be looking at how that’s going to change mobility in the future, and how we’re going to facilitate the movement of commercial goods throughout the town.”

Part of the task of the transportation master plan will be to forecast what future traffic is going to look like in a decade, looking for what the possible constraints may be and how to address those issues before they happen.

According to Cabott, Nunami Stantec will be meeting with a number of stakeholders involved with the movement of goods throughout the city, including both sealift operators.

Another topic that generated discussion during the meeting was the transportation of watercraft.

“Last summer it was a really bad summer to launch our boat at the causeway because the potholes were so severe, and thankfully nothing happened to our boat and trailer, but a lot of hunters were affected,” said Coun. Sheila Flaherty.

“That road needs to be paved to save thousands of dollars of equipment that people invest in for their families.”

Part of the transportation master plan is looking at road classifications.

“We’re going to identify corridors that see high volumes of traffic and which corridors need to have an elevated level of maintenance and potentially pavement so that they last longer and they can accommodate heavy vehicles, things like that so that there aren’t potholes,” said Orr.

To do this, Nunami Stantec will be coordinating with the city’s public works department.

Mayor Kenny Bell said that the city has looked at a design to upgrade that road but that it had a price tag of $6 million.

Another focus of the discussion was public safety.

Deputy Mayor Janet Brewster said that she’d like to see a transportation plan that includes public safety teachings and education for children.

“A lot of children are playing in the ditches and in the road allowances and it’s really important to make them aware of safety.”

On the subject of pedestrians near roadways, Coun. Romeyn Stevenson took a moment to address crosswalks in the city.

“I am a huge proponent of—and believe that we are remiss as a city that we don’t have—lit crosswalks in at least three points in the city. I think that it’s verging on negligence that we haven’t got them yet. I’m assuming that you’ll be looking at safe crosswalks?”

Orr responded by acknowledging that it’s great that the city has so many crosswalks and said that the study would evaluate options that address the issue of visibility and safety at those locations.

Stevenson also asked another question, “I’m assuming at the end of the study we’re going to have a roundabout?”

There was laughter in the room.

In addition to their visit to city council, Nunami Stantec will also be conducting public engagement sessions around the city over the next few days:

  • Feb. 27
    • Aquatic Centre: 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 28
    • Elders’ Qammaq: 1 to 3 p.m.
    • Arctic Winter Games Arena: 6 to 8 p.m.

There will also be a public open house on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the elders’ qammaq.

Those interested in offering their feedback can also do so online by completing the transportation master plan survey here.

The next Iqaluit city council session will be on March 9.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Broken road system on

    People have to start following the rules of the road. It’s a jungle out there. There are too many people who are too aggressive while others are too nice (like letting people in when it’s dangerous and causes more confusion). Just drive and everyone will get home.

    • Posted by Annoyed Driver on

      It doesnt just mean following the rules of the road! First and foremost it means knowing them. Not sure where many Iqaluingmiut got their driver’s licenses but most need a refresher.

    • Posted by Guessing Game on

      The nicest thing someone can do on the road is follow the rules of the road. Specifically, the rules of Right of Way. When you ‘let me out/in’ … you’re not helping.

  2. Posted by Northern Guy on

    We live in the arctic where it is -30 for weeks at a time sp oorry but moving people efficiently means moving vehicles efficiently and that means right and left turn lanes on the major roads to reduce congestion and traffic wait times. It also means clearly identified and.plowed sidewalks to reduce pedestrian vehicle interaction.

  3. Posted by Arm Chair Critic on

    Master plan. Pave the roads. That’s all. It only takes a Maximum and I am being cute about this is 20 minutes.
    Maybe update a couple routes and try re route some places.

  4. Posted by Charles Wilson on

    How about a couple of well positioned traffic lights. You know so that 30 or 40 cars could go through intersection, then wait for 30 or 40 other cars to go the other way. Yes turn lanes are important too….but it might be time for Iqaluit to have lights in 2 or 3 spots. Inuvik has a traffic light and there are only 3000 or so people there………Iqaluit is the big city (of Nunavut) traffic lights are possible.

  5. Posted by Walk more on

    People in Iqaluit would benefit from walking more and driving less. It’s a small down. Most people could walk to work in less than 30 mins. Dress warm and walk. Your heart, mind, wallet, waistline, and planet will thank you. Dont walk along the roads in the summer though unless you want to inhale a bunch of particulate matter and road dust. Pave the roads Iqaluit – I’d suggest sidewalks too but that would be a miracle.

  6. Posted by Just saying on

    Finally the city is thinking about improvements. Paving roads, creating safe sidewalks (make sure you’ll plow them) and crossings. Look into alternate roads to certain areas, especially to the RTN. If a new subdivision will actually be build up there, it will be impossible to avoid much heavier traffic jam. Iqaluit is growing by the day and more vehicles arriving in Iqaluit ever year, but this to be expected.
    The city should also include discussions about how to ensure that all vehicles are registered and that the owner/driver has a valid insurance. Cars and trucks have to be road-safe, vehicles with missing fenders, bumpers, or broken windows should not be on the road. Children should be in their child seats on not in an amauti or climbing around.

    I don’t know how the city is planning to pay for this, but I assume 3rd party funding need to be requested.

  7. Posted by Ukiuqtaqtumiu on

    this is great to hear and still going on to this date.public safety is number #1 driver’s and pedestrian need to work together more for a better sustainable future.If we educate each other more on daily basis it is a win win situation.Everone is not in a rush to get to work it is those last minute drivers whom wakes up late and drinking nights creates dangerous roads.
    Also never leave the Disability people in mind they to have a right to say and more.Disability and Accessiblity works well together not sure when Nunavut will catch up and understand that. But if you want something it will cost and need to create another by=law.

  8. Posted by walker on

    How about having sidewalks, proper sidewalks and clear of snow, this would make it easier to walk to and from work, its not a big place, most of us can walk, but the way it is set up right now its kinda scary to walk with uneven ground and vehicles getting so close to where you walk.
    Sidewalks in key areas would go a long way. This would encourage people to start walking.
    Yellowknife, Whitehorse it works over there.

  9. Posted by Presidents choice consultant on

    It would be beneficial for the city to buy equipment for paving and training their road crew on how to use it and start paving roads on a annual base for fraction of the cost. Instead of using extremely expensive contracts that pave just a little part of the roads start training your road crew to pave the roads. Its a continuous project where the roads need maintenance and repaving from year to year. More time out of the garage for the road crew and more time on the road.

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