The concept of an additional lane on the bridge was modeled as a part of the Transportation Master Plan. Unfortunately, the model showed it would have limited effect. While two northbound lanes may provide additional queuing storage, the limited capacity of Banff Ave/Buffalo St intersection will continue to cause backups. And we can’t tear down the buildings on the corner to build capacity.
The addition of a fourth lane would require the sidewalks on the bridge to be narrowed on both sides from by one metre. This will negatively impact pedestrians and is contrary to council’s strategic priority of promoting sustainable modes of transportation. As well, a crash barrier between the sidewalk and driving lanes would likely be required with four driving lanes on the bridge leading to a further reduction in sidewalk width on a designated heritage structure.
In the long term, traffic volumes are likely to increase beyond the capacity that fourth lane could provide.
Council considered a trial lane reversal in November 2014 to assess the efficiency of two northbound lanes. The trial was not approved because Council felt the limits of the Buffalo/Banff Avenue intersection would make the trial ineffective.