Roundabouts and countdown crossings

Qualicum Beach town council hears ideas included in the draft of an Age-Friendly Transportation Study

Qualicum Beach should consider more ways to slow traffic in the village neighbourhood and ensure the safety of pedestrians, a consultant putting together the town’s Age-Friendly Transportation Plan said in a report Monday to council.

Countdown signals at intersections for pedestrians — numbers beside the flashing red hand that tell people how long they have to safely cross the roadway — have “proven very effective elsewhere” and are a “good way to improve safety at an intersection,” said Richard Drdul, who was presenting a draft of the report he will finalize and deliver to the town by March 31.

He said the highest priority for one of these countdown signals should be at Memorial Avenue and Fern Road.

Drdul also said he has identified eight places in Qualicum Beach where what he called “special crosswalk treatments,” including flashing yellow lights and illuminated signs, would improve safety.   He said these systems range in price from $10,000-$14,000 each and that funds from ICBC are available to help with costs of some of these improvements.

Drdul also floated the idea of three more roundabouts for Qualicum Beach – one at 19A and Village Way, another at Village Way and Qualicum Road and a third at the foot of Memorial Avenue at the waterfront.

Council was receptive to Drdul’s suggestions, but Mayor Teunis Westbroek may have expressed what others were thinking when he said he agreed Drdul’s suggestions were certainly worthy of consideration, but “the problem for us is how we are going to fund them.”

The consultant also spoke about the need to achieve some consistency in speed limits on some roads in the town, especially Village Way, which goes from 50 km-h to 70 km-h and back to 50 km-h in a relatively short distance.