The intersection of Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street, where a child was struck and injured in November 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)

The intersection of Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street, where a child was struck and injured in November 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)

High-traffic Parksville intersection to get temporary 4-way stop

City staff to monitor effectiveness of traffic-calming measure at Despard and Moilliet

A high-traffic Parksville intersection where a Springwood Elementary student was struck last fall will be getting a temporary four-way stop.

Coun. Adam Fras made the motion concerning Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street during the latest Parksville city council meeting.

His motion passed 5-2, with Coun. Marilyn Wilson and Coun. Doug O’Brien in opposition. The motion also included that any incidental costs, up to $2,500, be taken from council contingency.

“I think we provide (residents) with something that gives them immediate enjoyment and livability and improved service in their community… I think it would have an immediate effect,” said Fras.

Keeva Kehler, the city’s chief administrative officer, said RCMP are also monitoring traffic in the morning during pickup and in the afternoon during dropoff times for nearby Springwood Elementary students. According to Kehler, Parksville bylaw officers are also doing the same.

Mayor Ed Mayne said the intersection is perceived as a danger, especially since traffic has increased significantly, and that this is a problem that requires immediate action.

However, some council members had concerns with the possibility of further traffic issues caused by a four-way stop.

READ MORE: City staff members, school district officials to discuss high-traffic Parksville intersection

O’Brien said the motion conflicted with recommendations made by the city’s acting director of engineering, Joe Doxey, as well the recommendations made by a third-party traffic consultant. On those ground, he did not support the motion.

“If traffic is coming around that corner and doing a right-hand turn onto Despard Avenue and then immediately come to a screeching halt; then put that with the increased traffic and parents dropping off their kids, it’s going to be a lot of traffic all coming in,” he said. “And that could actually back out into (Highway) 4A, which creates a super dangerous situation.”

Mayne said he had difficulty understanding the concept of traffic backing up onto the highway.

“It is exactly the same distance from this corner here (Despard and Moilliet) out to Highway 4A, as it is the other – and the traffic is four times more on that corner than it would be at Moilliet and Despard. And we’ve never even seen it come close.”

Fras noted to council that crossing guards are already stopping traffic there twice a day for the elementary students.

“When the cars are coming, they’re stopping and it allows the flow of the traffic to trickle through. It doesn’t back up to the intersection. If it was going to happen with a stop sign it would already be happening. And we’re not seeing that to be the case.”

As the four-way stop is deemed only as a temporary solution, city staff will monitor the effectiveness in traffic-calming for six months then report back to council.

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