Sunday, October 27, 2013

Permanent Marineland Traffic Light Coming Next Year

Shortly after closing for the season Marineland removed the traffic light it installed earlier in the year.  The lights completed a four way intersection at Portage Rd and Upper Rapids Boulevard allowing for controlled traffic to exit at what used to be Marineland's entrance.   The lights were installed at the park's cost after receiving approval from Niagara Falls City Council.  Marineland redeveloped their entrance to be used as an exit in an attempt to block demonstrators from offering leaflets to the public as they left the park at the normal exit onto Stanley Ave.

It was originally thought to cost Marineland $35,000 for the installation of the lights however that figure ended up being much less. Vehicle detection devices (loops) were not installed which would have required digging up the intersection and that was included in the original cost estimate given to Marineland.   Working with the city of Niagara Falls, Marineland installed the lights using a fixed time mode.  The resulting increase in constant red lights at the intersection however left many local residents fuming.

It now appears local residents will be footing the entire bill to reconstruct the intersection a year early to benefit Marineland and its attempt to block demonstrators.

In the July 9th 2013 Niagara Falls City Council meeting it was noted the city was due to reconstruct the intersection in 2015 but that project could be pushed ahead to 2014 to favour Marineland where the city would cover the entire cost of the project.

In an email obtained by Marineland: In Depth - Karl Dren,  the transportation services manager for the city of Niagara Falls confirms a permanent fix will be in place for next year:

"Council at it’s meeting of July 9, 2013, approved the temporary modification of traffic signal at Portage and Upper Rapids to allow Marineland traffic to exit here.  Since, this installation was temporary, no vehicle detection for the side street approach could be accommodated.  Therefore, the signal was placed in fixed time mode meaning the signal constantly cycles through all approaches even if there are no cars present on either road.  After the Thanksgiving weekend, when Marineland closed for the season, the traffic signal was converted back to its previous operation.  With respect to funding, it is typical that developments that have a major impact on adjacent road infrastructure such as traffic signals, additional turning lanes, etc. are required to fund either all or a portion of the works, in this case Marineland paid for the temporary signal costs.  A more permanent solution will be in place for next year."

According to Dren the total cost to reconstruct the intersection will be $150,000 to $175,000.

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