Sunnyside residents say they face unintended consequences of Memorial Drive closures


Several Sunnyside residents who live along 5A St. NW are fed up with drivers speeding and cutting through their neighbourhood, to avoid Memorial Drive back-ups.

Alex Jackson and his young family enjoy going for walks in the neighbourhood, but say some drivers treat their street as a racetrack.

“Talk 24 months or 36 months, that people have seen an increased flow of traffic, and an increased rate of speed,” Jackson said.

He believes the city has not been answering the calls of concerned residents for years and that there have been too many close calls, with vehicles nearly hitting pedestrians.

“It almost seems like the community is being stonewalled,” he said.

“It’s a real shame to sort of see this happening, I mean its certainly crossed our mind, the thought of moving to a different part of the community, or a different community altogether.” 

Jackson isn’t the only one, as John Thorpe says his child, who is under six was almost clipped by a driver while riding a bike.

“We had an incident where a gentleman did get a little bit close with us on the side of the road, he’d didn’t slow down, he didn’t take a wide berth around us at all,” he said.

“We got into a verbal altercation. It didn’t result in anything, but it’s just one of those situations you’d want to avoid altogether.”

Residents say since the adaptive roadway system along Memorial Drive came into place last year, due to COVID-19, more and more drivers are taking short cuts through their residential streets to get to 10th St. NW.

Director of Roads for the city Troy McLeod says that there is no closure date of the adaptive roadway just yet, but the city “will monitor” the situation.

“As fall and winter weather approaches, we will suspend this weekend operation,” said McLeod.

Memorial Drive’s eastbound lanes are closed to vehicle traffic on weekends to allow for more spacing between cyclists and pedestrians.

For Thorpe he already knows what could slow traffic.

“I’ve suggested speed bumps along the streets, because I know that works in other neighbourhoods like Hillhurst,” said Thorpe.

Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell tells CTV News this has been a problem that pre-dates COVID-19 and that the city is looking at long term solution to cut-through traffic in Sunnyside.

She says the key is to get traffic calming and “ideally” some diverters.

In May, residential speed limits were reduced from 50 kilometres per hour to 40.

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