Village Way and Qualicum Road won’t get an illuminated pedestrian crossing any time soon, disappointing the new Qualicum Woods Residents’ Association.
Council requested a staff report on the possible “special crosswalk” after the association asked for safety improvements to the intersection at the March 2 council meeting.
“While this instruction is quite explicit, it is felt that the discussion would benefit from a more comprehensive review…” started the staff report which suggested looking at the wider context.
A key point in the staff report, said director of engineering Bob Weir, is the evaluation matrix they developed for the Age Friendly Transportation Plan in 2013 ranking potential projects based on safety, usage, vulnerable users, cost and the impact on the wider transportation network.
That older report lists a roundabout at the intersection as the ninth highest transportation priority in town, and a traffic signal as the 21st priority.
The top three priorities are improvements at Hwy 19A at Country Club Drive, Hwy 19A at Memorial and Berwick Road at Veterans Way (at The Gardens).
The 2013 report refers to ICBC statistics listing the Qualicum Road corner as the worst in the city for personal injury and second to Country Club for total crashes.
Weir also explained what he called major differences in traffic signal intersections and illuminated pedestrian crossings, which ICBC calls special crosswalks and does not recognize as a traffic control device. He said the pedestrian crossings can give people a false sense of security and actually undermine safety, especially when there is a left turn lane as there is at the Qualicum Road crossing. He stressed that a roundabout is the best solution, slowing traffic and reducing conflicts, but it is also the most expensive at $400-$500,000 rather than
$30-$50,000 for a pedestrian crossing. Councillors spoke in favour of roundabouts, and voted to refer the discussion to their strategic planning sessions, which only Coun. Neil Horner voted against, saying he’d rather deal with it right now.
QWRA representative Carol Dowe was clearly frustrated when she spoke from the gallery at the end of the meeting saying roundabouts are harder on people with strollers or in scooters and urged council to improve safety with an illuminated crossing now, which they can take out later if they build a roundabout.