Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

City councillor Ted Laking

Traffic infrastructure is falling behind: councillor

City councillor Ted Laking says many residents are telling him the city’s traffic infrastructure is simply not keeping pace with the steady population growth.

By Whitehorse Star on August 5, 2022

City councillor Ted Laking says many residents are telling him the city’s traffic infrastructure is simply not keeping pace with the steady population growth.

During Monday’s council meeting, Laking raised the issue of welcome but enormous growth in Whitehorse that has been occurring primarily in Whistle Bend and Porter Creek.

According to the latest population statistics from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics, the population of Whistle Bend and Porter Creek was 7,243 in March 2022.

This is an increase of 3,023 people compared to just five years earlier.

During that same period, the entire city of Whitehorse grew by 4,833 – meaning that 62 per cent of the city’s population boom has occurred entirely in Whistle Bend and Porter Creek, Laking said this week.

“For years, we have relied entirely on Porter Creek and Whistle Bend to absorb the growth of our city,” said Laking.

“But this is becoming unsustainable without major upgrades to transportation infrastructure.

“We need to begin planning upgrades to improve Mountainview Drive now so that we can get ahead of this problem.”

During part of the morning commute period, downtown-bound traffic can be backed up from the corner of Second Avenue and Quartz Road past the Mountainview Drive-Range Road intersection. Lines can be even longer when snow is falling.

Both directions of Quartz Road, Copper Road and Mountainview Drive are also very busy during the afternoon commute hour.

On Copper Road, vehicles waiting to make left-hand turns into industrial businesses can bring Mountainview Drive-bound vehicles to a standstill.

Downtown-bound traffic, meanwhile, can form a sold line along the full length of Quartz Road and back up along Copper Road.

In the last five years, the population of Whitehorse grew by 16.3 per cent. If that pace were to continue for another five years, the population would be 40,085 by 2027.

“We have added over 3,000 people in just five years to the north end of town without upgrading our traffic infrastructure, and this is leading to major issues on Mountainview Drive,” added Laking.

“With new residential developments being proposed on Holly Street and Whistle Bend Way and with a new school being built in Whistle Bend, plus 2,200 more lots to be developed in that subdivision, these issues are only going to get worse,” Laking pointed out.

Comments (35)

Up 0 Down 2

MITCH on Aug 12, 2022 at 12:42 pm

@ POLITICO - "As usual Mr Laking brings up a problem everyone knows about but makes no suggestion of what to do about it. You brought it up Ted what's your proposed solutions? Why are you leaving it for other people to find the solutions."

I thought you already provided us the solutions...why do you even care if you enjoy the country life by renting to a tenant and lauding it on a news forum? I have rented to tenants as well, do you have a silver star for me too?

Up 0 Down 0

MITCH on Aug 12, 2022 at 12:31 pm

POLITICO - So, you presented the correct course of action to us. Where is your bridge design? hardly one to talk about flowery language, does your PROPOSAL add up to a fiscal budget that is tenable? Like you say, you can't even design a bridge. I also can't design a bridge, but I built one in grade 5 challenge class and got a participation trophy, so you should recognize my Liberal credentials. Again, always a pleasure to provoke your lack of emotional intelligence and civil impotence. IT BECOMES YOU.

Please entertain us more with your “Leave Britney Alone!” style antics.

Up 0 Down 0

Politico on Aug 11, 2022 at 7:46 pm

@MITCH WOW! You give more credit than I deserve. Unlike right wing dingers and fiscal conservatives I never got a degree in google bridge design. I will leave that to people who actually know what they are doing, unlike you! And by the way, lots of flowery language and word salad which doesn't even come close to addressing the problem or solving it. Proves right wingers are more interested in gas lighting that actually solving the problem. I'm sure Ted will have something else to complain about next week and will just drop the issue to move on!

@Dallas Amazing how you can make so many assumptions about me and know so little. Why should I move on. I've worked here longer than you've probably been alive. I rent my house out so I can enjoy a comfortable retirement in the country. One word of wisdom, learn to write English properly, it will influence people into thinking you might know what you're talking about! Cheers

Up 5 Down 4

Dallas on Aug 11, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Maybe politico it’s time for you to move on and move out, it’s actually time for a lot of people to move out. if you moved here for a job and can’t find a place to live start packing again and move on move out. There I said it gtfo will the gettin is good.

Up 7 Down 7

MITCH on Aug 10, 2022 at 4:02 pm

@ Politico - You know, I actually commend you for the bravery to stand up all the time and propound such banal with consistency. You can't say the Liberals are not persistent...oh wait, you don't have to, one need only look around.

Up 2 Down 7

MITCH on Aug 10, 2022 at 3:05 pm

@ Politico - Fantastic, when can we expect you to submit your bridge design to the city for approval?...Liberal know it all belies the state of the country more than I ever can with their intellectual superiority, which translates into pragmatic impotence. That's me saying mentally, you have no d***.

Up 7 Down 3

Fringe Minority with Unacceptable Views on Aug 10, 2022 at 2:30 pm

I agree 100% with Anie's comment. A very simple solution would be to make 2nd and 4th a one way loop around the city. Ensure proper turning lights at all traffic lights and while you are at it, increase the speed either back to 50 km/hr or even 60 km/hour. Ensure all designated cross walks have proper signage and lights (and start ticketing for j-walking while you're at it). This is a cost efficient solution for the core, after that tackle the parking issue with a bit of parking infrastructure and we'd be in a better position while the town grows.

As for Mountainview Drive, you need to make it a 4 lane roadway, it cannot continue to support more traffic in its current state. It cannot even handle the current volume and once Whistlebend is fully developed the added volume of vehicles is going to be ridiculous. If you increase traffic flow vehicles spend less time on the road which actually reduces emissions. This one will be an expensive project but a necessary one.

Up 7 Down 13

Politico on Aug 9, 2022 at 6:46 pm

@MITCH All caps and you're so mad you must be his campaign manager. I'll cover some of my old favourites for you. Turn 2nd and 4th Aves into one ways. Remove the leading green at Chilkoot in the morning to help with traffic tie up. No left turns from 2nd to Main, prevents 2nd from becoming 2 one lane streets. How about putting a utility lane into Riverdale so major traffic flow will have 2 lanes moving. How about putting 4 lanes there, what a thought. That idea has been around for forty years but the fiscal conservatives have always voted it down as too expensive.That will give you something to chew on
@politico You forgot the committee to study homelessness. News flash, the easiest way to cure homelessness is build more homes. To bad the conservatives have catered to the realtors to keep the land supply low and the prices high! Also by turning down a new city hall what is our fiscal conservative going to do about the elevator there which is substandard and dangerous or the 60 year old heating system that parts are difficult and expensive to find!

Up 22 Down 4

Anie on Aug 9, 2022 at 3:18 pm

For decades, certain COW engineering staff have imposed their philosophy on council and citizens "if we make driving difficult then people will bike or walk". It is well last time for some to retire. Whitehorse has two main roads through downtown, They should each be one way, And we need both turning lanes and turning lights. This is not a complicated solution. We just need politicians with the courage to say "no" to the old school city staff.

Up 15 Down 15

Bender on Aug 9, 2022 at 3:05 pm

Ted’s a populist. Does he not think we realize he is ON council and he is complaining about the inaction of that same council? It’s pretty hilarious really.

I’m willing to bet Ted speaks about himself in the 3rd person on the regular. ‘Ted is upset that Ted is stuck in traffic again’ especially if it will keep him in the headlines.

Look Ted. I’m in WB as well and have watched the traffic get heavier every year in the 7 years I’ve been there. YOU are the one elected to council. YOU are the one to find solutions not chirp from the sidelines like you’re a Yukon party opposition member.

Twining Mountainview is the the most viable option. It won’t be cheap but the longer the delays the higher the cost so you best get on it.

Up 16 Down 4

yukong on Aug 9, 2022 at 9:45 am

Failing infrastructure, hmm.... how many weeks or months are we going to have to drive down 2 mile hill in its current state? The fact that lines are painted, is worrisome. I guess they can just fill in the grooves with snow, that'll make it smooth again.

Up 22 Down 5

Apex Parasite on Aug 9, 2022 at 9:25 am

Not everyone welcomes enormous growth...

I'd be ok with a few more potholes if it meant a few less people.

Up 8 Down 2

MITCH on Aug 9, 2022 at 8:52 am

Why don't you share YOUR vision Politico, you seem itching to. I will share mine, Whitehorse will not survive unless it expands and develops some Burroughs out of downtown. This means commercial zoning and hard ambitions by the chamber of commerce to make business work outside of the downtown core. It just won't fit any more people. It could, but the expansion thing is way cheaper. I get urban density to an extent, but this city was so poorly designed it needs to expand in order to contract, to my mind, if that makes sense.

Up 20 Down 4

MITCH on Aug 8, 2022 at 2:47 pm

Stalling on these issues just because you want us to walk will not result in less traffic, it will result in a local society that runs out of your control. I think I am ready for that, honestly. When someone runs you over, you will get the point I guess, but not before. Paint another god damned rainbow crosswalk!

Fix the damn roads.

Up 15 Down 6

@politico on Aug 8, 2022 at 1:57 pm

The only proposal I remember him rejecting is the waste of money at city hall.

Up 23 Down 16

Chillax Peeps - They’ll sort it out… Maybe? on Aug 8, 2022 at 1:01 am

Why not put in a barge service from PC / WB to downtown Whitehorse. This could be part of the transit system. To reduce emissions the barge could float back downstream. The passengers could be given barge poles to steer the barge or unstick it from sandbars etc.

Better yet, passengers could be made to row both ways. Just like the Liberal slave ships of Ancient Greece / Rome. Perhaps a floating bridge with toll charges? What about a sky train? Underground subway? A bullet train? How about a chair lift to downtown - No scheduling - It’s just always going. You could use the River to power it.

The back of every chair could display messages of diversity and inclusion… And I think to myself, what a wonderful world?

Up 13 Down 0

CJ2 on Aug 7, 2022 at 10:48 pm

@Michelle, I ask myself that several times a day, and not just about the traffic...

Up 12 Down 20

Politico on Aug 7, 2022 at 6:18 pm

@North_of_60 Leading greens are not the solution. All they do is stuff up traffic flow. The ones at Hospital Rd and Chilkoot/Quartz did nothing to increase traffic flow.
@Thomas Brewer Spoken like a true conservatives, nice words that mean absolutely nothing!
@Thomas Brewer Administration keeps bringing Mr Laking proposals but he keeps rejecting them. Why doesn't he share his vision so we can see what his plan is. The problem is he is only interested in headlines so when the next territorial election is held he can move on. Once in the legislature he will treat the COW and it's problems with the disdain that we have come to expect from the territorial government, the city be dammed.

Up 54 Down 3

North_of_60 on Aug 7, 2022 at 1:47 pm

Installing left turn signals at the most congested intersections would be a cost effective step in the right direction.
We have the resources to improve traffic flow if they are directed from high profile virtue-signaling to investing in practical solutions.

Up 25 Down 46

Observer on Aug 7, 2022 at 11:48 am

It is not about traffic congestion, it is about name recognition, keeping your name out there, getting set up for the next territorial or federal election. Ted could care less about traffic congestion.

Up 40 Down 10

Michelle on Aug 6, 2022 at 7:40 pm

Why is there so much traffic in the afternoon anyways? Doesn't anybody work?

Up 48 Down 5

Thomas Brewer on Aug 6, 2022 at 12:00 pm

I'd be happy if they fixed up what we've currently got first...

Up 40 Down 34

Mr Facts on Aug 6, 2022 at 10:33 am

LEAVE MCINTYRE CREEK ALONE. How stupid can people be thinking putting a road to the KK is going to somehow alleviate traffic from whistle bend or PC?

Up 64 Down 7

Lost In the Yukon on Aug 6, 2022 at 8:31 am

The role of Council is to direct/tell City Administration what the Cities priorities are … Ted Laking has provided leadership by raising an important issue at Council. It is now up to ALL Council members to decide if it agrees with him and if it is a priority. If they do then Council will direct City Administration to come up with a solution. Ted Laking can not simply walk into the engineering department and tell them to widen a road or put in a traffic circle.

So to those critiquing Ted Laking for raising issues … that is what he was elected to do. He is one voice on Council … one vote.

The City employees hundreds of people (at great expense) to provide solutions to the issues/priorities identified and directed by Council.

Up 59 Down 12

iBrian on Aug 6, 2022 at 5:59 am

Ahh, just keep stuffing people in. Between the cash handouts, Social Assistance lifers, and other with hands out looking for free givemes.
I was in a meeting in Ottawa in 2018, where the MP BanGun stated that Yukon was on track to have 135,000 people by 2035. The goal is to increase the population in the yukon to help generate taxes for the future.
That meeting was about population increases across Canada. It was estimated Canada had to bring in nearly 12 million New Canadians by 2030. No one said who told us we “Had” to bring these people in. But a variety of factors were included such as War, Famine and uninhabitable lands (toxic and climate driven).
So, it’s only going to get worse.
Traffic is just part of it. The new crimes going on, the revolving Justice door.
But the CoW council and Mayor are busy painting crosswalks, building blank canvases for graffiti artists and telling us we need to reconcile for something we didn’t do.

Up 29 Down 17

Nathan Living on Aug 6, 2022 at 1:36 am

It's an issue for sure. If we had less aggressive drivers it would be easier to be comfortable with the current situation.

There are many streets in the city that appear unsafe due to bad drivers rather than infrastructure deficiencies. And it's foolish to ride a bike on many streets because it's not a safe environment.

Why not have a list of the current deficiencies and projected needs and throw some money at it each year to improve the situation.
And we need a crossing guard to ensure drunk and drug impaired people get safely across 4th near the Centre of Hope.

Up 71 Down 18

jack on Aug 6, 2022 at 12:13 am

Because City is too busy painting rainbow crosswalks, hoisting pride flags and pandering to the United Way!

Up 18 Down 55

Interested Observer on Aug 5, 2022 at 10:22 pm

Thanks captain (Ted) obvious. Nothing some more money can’t fix. Get to work with your AYC hat on and do something about it instead of headline grabbing as usual.

Well folks, sure looks like the fix is in to solidify Ted’s future political aspirations. Gotta love how the media is stumping for Ted at the expense of silencing his colleagues with his headline grabbing antics.

His fame will come with a trail of bodies behind him of city staff, and this council, while he opines about unabated surmounting debt that he’s just as responsible for contributing towards. Everyone and everything is expendable around this guy.

If this council doesn’t rein him in, one should expect to see more of these kind of antics of tag teaming with the Yukon party at everyone else’s expense.

Maybe that’s what residents want?

Up 28 Down 6

vlad on Aug 5, 2022 at 9:39 pm

@YT...it's not about how much money you take in BUT what you do with the said money. We know of a thousand money pits the COW venture into year after year..at least think about what another 10 to 20 thousand people will look like driving their EVs around.

Up 38 Down 4

Jer P on Aug 5, 2022 at 9:20 pm

Traffic is bad in Whistlebend. I'm okay that someone is bringing up the discussion. This new council seems to at least be talking about issues that impact us.

Up 62 Down 6

@yt on Aug 5, 2022 at 4:58 pm

Personally i agree with him that it is better to spend the money we have on roads than on a new city hall. Sign me up for more of this common sense.

Up 45 Down 7

No argument on Aug 5, 2022 at 4:50 pm

It's a gong show in the mornings and afternoons all over town, but these piecemeal fixes aren't helping. Why widen one section of road, just to create a bottleneck further on? It's time for some 'big' thinking, and that includes reducing the number of vehicles on the road, as well as making room for daily traffic and parking downtown.

Up 32 Down 63

YT on Aug 5, 2022 at 4:24 pm

All it takes is money Ted
How are you going to square this with your whole lower taxes schtick?

Up 50 Down 77

Politico on Aug 5, 2022 at 3:59 pm

As usual Mr Laking brings up a problem everyone knows about but makes no suggestion of what to do about it. You brought it up Ted what's your proposed solutions? Why are you leaving it for other people to find the solutions. If you had read minutes of past COW council meetings you would have seen many discussions about this problem and many suggestions about solutions. Which one do you like? Mr Laking the problem is we are trying to stuff 40k people into a traffic pattern based on 20K people 30 years ago.
Solutions should be looking 30 years into the future and preparing for 50k people rather than the stop gap measures most people want. Another thought would be if you provide roads to bring all those cars downtown where are you going to put them. You have already brought up the parking concerns downtown! Mr Laking you were elected on the promise of providing leadership on the council, maybe it's time you stepped up and did that rather than shaking the cockroaches in the jar!

Up 105 Down 10

Oya on Aug 5, 2022 at 3:49 pm

OMG! Thank you for thinking about the traffic!!! It has gotten so bad with so many new people here. Please don't let this issue fall off the table, Ted!

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.