Whitehorse Daily Star

Subdivision’s growth raises traffic anxieties

It’s not the addition of more lots in Whistle Bend that was on the minds of some city councillors last week.

By Whitehorse Star on September 26, 2022

It’s not the addition of more lots in Whistle Bend that was on the minds of some city councillors last week. It was the additional traffic that would come with them.

City council is being asked to rezone 25.8 hectares in Area C from future planning to public and residential zones to allow for more housing.

City planner Mathieu Marios told council last Tuesday that rezoning the land would create the opportunity for the supply of 117 single-family lots and four multi-family lots.

Council was also told rezoning the land would require the city to seek out new areas to serve as snow dumps.

Tracy Allen, the city’s director of operations, said the city is currently in discussion with the Yukon government about how long the city will have access to the existing snow dumps.

The city is looking at alternative sites and the cost of establishing the sites and operating them, she said.

Coun. Dan Boyd raised the issue regarding the additional traffic.

Under the original Whistle Bend plan, there were to be more access and egress routes that have not materialized, he pointed out.

While the access and egress routes have not materialized, he said, the city continues to use Whistle Bend as its only build-out area.

The councillor said he does not have the answer to his concerns, and neither does the city.

“I just want to go on record as saying we need to start thinking about further build-out on the Whistle Bend area until we get our Transportation Master Plan done, and that is still the better part of a year away,” he said.

City manager Mike Gau noted Areas A, B, and C were added to the original Whistle Bend plan through an amendment to the Official Community Plan.

As part of the amendment, research was undertaken and a study on the implications for traffic was included, he noted.

Gau said staff will review the traffic study and report back to council.

There are, he noted, still several steps in front of council to approve the amendment.

He said delaying the approval of Phases 10 and 11 of the Whistle Bend development could result in a gap in the housing supply – which could have consequences for housing prices.

It would be nice to have the new Traffic Master Plan available, but that plan is still a year or more away from completion, Gau pointed out.

Coun. Ted Laking told his colleagues on council Mountainview Drive was designed long before Whistle Bend was built.

The city, he said, is putting more and more pressure on Mountainview Drive, and Whistle Bend is continuing to grow.

The question around the implications of a growing subdivision on the transportation network should have been dealt with a year ago or even longer ago, he said.

First reading of the bylaw required to approve the zoning amendment is scheduled to go before council at tonight’s meeting.

Comments (25)

Up 3 Down 2

Josey Wales on Oct 2, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Ummm...Observer, that traffic?
Should it surprise you that there are so many idiots in traffic really?
The place is slithering with liberals, of course our per capita stupidity index will climb.
There are many here that have no clue, interest what road markings are for...drive like they are way more important than all *inference of entitlement...take it from there.
Next time you are at a liberal love in, ask your comrades to not drive so syhite? May improve traffic?

Up 1 Down 1

Observer on Oct 1, 2022 at 6:49 pm

Yes the roads are crowded, does not help that many vehicles are occupied by first class idiots. Today driving to PC, stopped at AH and 2 mile hill, start out on the green in the left lane heading to PC and the idiot in a blue chevy car with no rear bumper (figures), comes up in the right lane and cuts right in front of me. I am like number six in the line of vehicles heading to PC???

Up 1 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Sep 30, 2022 at 1:13 pm

Pssst - Monorail

Up 11 Down 0

No Bikes on Sep 29, 2022 at 11:00 pm

@Lee I agree with your comments about decentralization and possibly a more rapid transit system. But not about expanding bike infrastructure. The bikers in this town are very loud and passionate and naive. Winters are usually quite brutal in Yukon and there is a very thin slice of people who can do the fat tire biking thing. Let me ask you or any other biker proponent a few questions.
1. How do you expect elderly people to bike a long distance or even a short distance in the winter? Also, falls for elderly people can be fatal, so is it worth the risk to them?
2. How do you suggest my wife and I bring our two kids downtown from Porter Creek to daycare in the middle of winter - or even any other time?
3. How do you shop for anything larger than a bag of groceries or two if I have to bike it home? What happens to my frozen items when I bike in the middle of summer?
4. Drivers aren't great around Whitehorse and we also have the highest drunk driving rates in Canada I think. So why should I encourage my kids to bike along the roads every day when car/bike accidents are often fatal for the biker? Seems rather risky, especially in the winter no?

I agree that we do have to cut down on our emissions, but that will come from either hydrogen powered or electric cars, not bikes, for the reasons I just mentioned. So unfortunately we will still need more roads and bridges. That's just a fact.

Going green shouldn't have to mean sacrificing our technological progress and going back to a life of pre-modern hardship.

Up 2 Down 2

SH on Sep 29, 2022 at 9:50 am

Hurr,

There aren't 300 foot cliffs along the whole stretch of river wrapping around Whistle Bend. There may be a viable spot to the North West of the subdivision, at the end of "Jet Power Road".

You may have a point, regarding the settlement land.

Up 6 Down 19

Lee Carruthers on Sep 28, 2022 at 7:26 pm

Cars, cars, cars. That seems to be the limit of CoW Council's and YG's imagination. Just keep building more and bigger roads. Not a single thought to the future and the climate.

We are already well on our way to paving this paradise, what with the huge expanse of blacktop growing on the Alaska Highway. Can we pause to think about an alternative vision? A reminder: City Council declared a "Climate Emergency" a year or so ago. How quickly they forget.

Other, more progressive cities are doing it differently. Be it rapid transit, bike infrastructure, decentralization, etc. etc. Are Whitehorsians really so foolish that they can only envision an uglier and even more car-centric culture here?

The "Wilderness City?" Not.

Up 8 Down 1

Bridging - Nation to Nation relationships on Sep 28, 2022 at 5:21 pm

At Hurr on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:29 pm:

No, appropriating land along Mountain View etc is not the only way forward.

They could appropriate settlement land (return it to the commons) and build that bridge - We could call it a bridge between or through Nations, or the 2 Nations bridge etc.

Or, the FN could go into a partnership and put tolls on the bridge. They could lease the land to the government for 99 years etc. By that time we'll probably have anti-gravity EVs and the bridge will be irrelevant then.

Up 8 Down 9

Hurr on Sep 28, 2022 at 2:29 pm

@SH

Whistlebend sits about 300 feet above the river, there is no way a bridge could be built across to the east side of the river. Further, that side of the river is all settlement land.

COW planners painted themselves (and Whistlebend) into a corner. They only way forward is twinning Hickory/Mountianview/Quartz/Copper. If that requires appropriating land along Quartz/Copper so be it. It happens in every city on the planet.

Up 16 Down 1

SH on Sep 28, 2022 at 10:01 am

I go to work from Porter Creek at about 8:15am. I've noticed that Mountainview is only clogged on school days. I'm assuming this is due to students driving and being driven to school. If this is the case, having schools in Whistlebend may help alleviate Mountainview traffic by keeping students and their parents in Whistlebend.

Another part of the equation is commercial development in Whistlebend. We can only hope that commercial development will keep people out of the downtown core.

I wonder if a downtown access road on the East side of the Yukon River would be viable (requiring two bridges). An access point to the industrial area wouldn't be helpful, since this would still clog Quartz Road. An access onto Ogilvie Street could make sense, especially if they are planning to develop a subdivision on Long Lake Road. I expect a Long Lake subdivision would require a bridge anyway, as as the Riverdale bridge is already clogged in the mornings...

Up 10 Down 2

Resident on Sep 27, 2022 at 2:18 pm

Mountainview is irrelevant when there's no where for the traffic to go. Copper Road requires expropriation to expand. Range Road will scream bloodly murder if you try to twin it. You could bypass Copper by building something through Marwell but you'd probably be looking at expropriation there too. City Council is paid to figure this out but it's not as simple as 'twin Mountainview'.

Much of the land south of Copper Ridge is settlement land. There are no services and it makes no financial sense to put them in if the FN doesn't build.

Up 21 Down 2

Easy solutions, big whiners on Sep 27, 2022 at 12:25 pm

Why doesn’t the city focus on making Whistlebend more self sufficient? Perhaps work offices, grocery stores, department stores, instead of jamming everything in the city center? Oh that’s right, they only care about tourism and keeping everything in the downtown.

Up 23 Down 1

Oya on Sep 27, 2022 at 11:30 am

Any city councilor that considers traffic in and around Whitehorse has my support.
We have the highest rate of population increase in Canada in the last six years. This is known and documented. To not consider the impact of traffic in light of the influx of people would be folly.
Just imagine if everyone in Whistlebend had to get out of Whistlebend in short order. Just imagine the chaos. Same for Riverdale.
Dan and Ted.... keep pushing, PLEASE! Let's work on getting some new roads or twinning existing ones. Let's look at least 20 years ahead when planning for volumes.

Up 15 Down 2

Dwight Chalifour on Sep 27, 2022 at 10:19 am

There is over 900 acres of flat available land south of Copper Ridge.
The OCP has also recognized the potential to develop the South Growth Area.
This area is only minutes from downtown with gateway to Robert Service Way.

Up 15 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Sep 27, 2022 at 9:28 am

In some ways this is a report on how well previous planners and decision makers could look into the future. Things change and plans should be made to accomodate changes as more people move into an area.
On that topic, has there been any discussion yet on when Whistlebend will get its own fire hall? If time will be the critical element for responders to arrive, and if traffic conjestion is a hurdle, what plans have been made to deal with the issue?. All those plastic houses so close together will need rapid response to minimize damages.

Up 24 Down 4

Fringe Minority with Unacceptable Views on Sep 27, 2022 at 9:22 am

The slowing of traffic = cars on the road longer = more emissions (that's bad, M'Kay). You can't keep cramming more cars down the existing infrastructure, these roads are designed maybe for 20 cars per minute and currently have 40 per minute creeping up and down during rush hours. You need to expand the lanes, increase the speed and cars will spend less time on the road to get to their destination more quickly, thus creating less emissions.
Seriously, children understand this concept it's not hard. The answer isn't "we need more roads", what we need is upgraded road infrastructure. Also, make 2nd and 4th a one way loop and increase the speed in the downtown core at least back to 50. Less traffic lights clogging things up, more marked pedestrian cross walks, have bylaw officers ticket for j-walking to keep people "safe" since they think walking out in traffic is fine here and then build a parking garage literally anywhere in the core. But I'm sure none of this will happen here. I predict they will create a committee for the traffic issue but their objective will be to make traffic more "inclusive" and "diverse".

Up 11 Down 6

Josey Wales on Sep 27, 2022 at 5:26 am

Gee...I am of the opinion that the only time our civic wizards feel any anxiety...is prior to a wage contract coming due...and a “negotiation” to add to their entitlement they engineer ever so crafty like.
Pooville was a big nut infested dump that shoulda been flushed, and?
...here we are ...subject to planners that could not successfully plan a birthday party drawing six figures and thriving in a D.I.E. atmosphere of being promoted for not achieving any spore of excellence.

Yet I am certain they must have at least two back patting machines, in case the bushing wear out again in one...ensuring at least one is operative to keep their self esteem high as they appear to be.

Up 19 Down 4

jack on Sep 26, 2022 at 9:45 pm

City should think out of the box and consider new bridges and new access along the river to downtown. it's only a matter of time anyway. Also, Whistlebend needs more trees, it's such a wasteland.

Up 17 Down 2

Bingo on Sep 26, 2022 at 8:00 pm

View from the cheap seats….they are in the process of repaving two mile yet did not add another lane either way? Do they think bikes are going to reduce traffic…nada! There will at some point soon the need to have a bridge built across the Yukon River otherwise it will be a gong show.

Up 13 Down 0

Charlie's Aunt on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:17 pm

Never mind just Mountain View, what about increased traffic on Wann Rd? Where is all this increased domestic traffic coming from and going to in working hours? not as busy as in commuter times but still busier than pre Whistle Bend. The big trucks hauling gravel, lumber etc, going past Holy Family school will ease when Whistle Bend construction is done but until then it is an accident waiting to happen.

Up 6 Down 4

Hobo on Sep 26, 2022 at 5:55 pm

Even if the previous' city administrations would have upgraded MtnView, Quartz Rd would have still be the bottleneck that it is now. YG could ask Ottawa for money to build an elevated freeway over QRd from Range Rd down.......... kidding.

Up 41 Down 7

Wilf Carter on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:23 pm

This issue was discussed when Whistlebend was designed and Mountainview was supposed to be up graded 10 years ago, but previous mayor held it up.

Up 68 Down 2

JJ on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Gau: You don't need a Traffic Master Plan.

A 5 year old can see the frigging growing lineup of clogging Mountainview morning noon and night.

Soon to be 10,000 people in Whistlebend, you're little late to the game.

Up 38 Down 1

Matthew on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:19 pm

This satire!? The city is only 2 years behind the curve.. way to go, well at least you said it out loud now..

Up 7 Down 3

Politico on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:09 pm

And you think we have problems here

https://www.reddit.com/r/ottawa/comments/xol8h6/according_to_ontarios_population_projections/

Up 52 Down 5

Politico on Sep 26, 2022 at 2:58 pm

What we have here is a lack of vision from the current and previous City Councils. City planners and politicians only look 5 or at most 10 years in the future. What happens in 20 or 30 years from now, at present growth rates that's 14000 to 21000 more residents. Where are they going to live much less park their cars. Add to this the fact that we are trying to use the same broken ideas to build subdivisions, roads and move people around. Other cities in Canada are having the same issues but innovative ideas are ignored. We plan subdivisions without any plan to move people in and out of them! The current arguments of paving more roads is not gonna work much longer unless we decide the wilderness needs more 3 and 2 lane roads! Yes and someone should ask has that new parking committee come up with any new ideas on parking downtown?

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