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Saskatoon – Traffic improvements set for area near planned downtown grocery store

Arbutus aims to open Pitchfork later this year or early 2023.
Ward 5 Councillor Randy Donauer, left, and Transportation Committee chair Bev Dubois of Ward 9 listens to Arbutus Properties planning director Murray Totland during Monday's meeting.

SASKATOON — Infrastructure work that would improve traffic flow in the area where a grocery store will be built downtown will push through after the city of Saskatoon's standing policy committee on transportation approved the plan.

All five members of the committee voted in favour of the recommendation for traffic signals in the area where the local office of Vancouver-based Arbutus Properties is looking to open a second location of Pitchfork in Midtown.

The local developer requested traffic signals be put in place for motorists coming from the western and northern areas of the city at Idylwyld Drive to easily turn left toward Auditorium Avenue, where the planned Pitchfork Market + Kitchen will be built.

The committee, chaired by Ward 9 councillor Bev Dubois, recommended to city council that the administration and Arbutus Properties identify a build-out per cent-complete threshold that will provide certainty of a downtown grocery store opening in Midtown.

Improvements at the Idylwyld Drive-Auditorium Avenue intersection will be implemented once Arbutus Properties meets the threshold in a report that’s part of the Imagine Idylwyld initiative by the City of Saskatoon.

The upgrade of the intersection along Idylwyld Drive and Auditorium Avenue and other traffic improvement projects in the area would cost $220,000 and be funded through the reserve capital expenditures process.

The Saskatoon office of Arbutus Properties opened its first Pitchfork store in Rosewood near the Meadows community.

Arbutus Properties planning director Murray Totland, answering an inquiry made by Ward 5 councillor Randy Donauer on the impact of having traffic signals in the area, said it would be easier for motorists going to their store to turn left to Auditorium Avenue.

“I don’t believe the existing pedestrian signal provides the greatest level of access and safety in that intersection. The fact that there are recommendations for improvement suggests the need for it in that intersection,” said Totland.

Totland told SASKTODAY they did their own study of traffic flow in the area without hiring a consultant and based everything on data and other information from the city.

“We have inhouse expertise in this area and we reviewed traffic data, parking data and every bit of information that is available from the city. We based our assessment on those data. We’re looking for [Pitchfork] locations in downtown and this one popped on the top of our list,” said Totland, who is an engineer.

Other members of the Transportation Committee are vice-chair Zach Jeffries of Ward 10, David Kirkton of Ward 3 and Hillary Gough of Ward 2.


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