Sidewalks are a necessary part of pedestrian safety. So why does Sooke lack them? writes guest columnist Kara Dahmer. (Kevin Laird/Sooke News Mirror)

GUEST COMMENT: Pedestrian safety at risk due to lack of sidewalks in Sooke

Sooke’s ‘sidewalk crisis’

Kara Dahmer | Contributed

Sooke is a growing community with more tourists visiting and many people going for walks. The problem is that there’s no place for pedestrians to walk safely.

Sidewalks are a necessary part of pedestrian safety. So why does Sooke lack them?

In 2016, Sooke had a population of 13,001 people, according to Statistics Canada. The number of tourists each year is also on the rise. Most of the areas where tourists go have sidewalks, for example, the center of Sooke and the Sunriver area. Some other places don’t have sidewalks near them, such as schools.

If you walk along West Coast Road, you will notice that the sidewalk ends abruptly. According to the Sooke News Mirror, this is due to the “unofficial boat launch parking area” in the summer, by the Prestige hotel.

“The ministry, which is responsible for road, says a walkway on the south side is not acceptable due to the incompatibility with the existing unofficial boat launch parking area on the road.”

This creates a number of issues.

If there are trucks with boat trailers parked on the side of the road, then where do the pedestrians walk? They can’t walk on the road because they could be hit, but there’s no where else to walk.

Although they could walk on the other side, but there’s no crosswalk. It would not be very safe either.

At night, it’s even more dangerous. Far too many pedestrians wear dark clothing and not enough reflective gear. Without sidewalks, the chance of someone getting hit is even higher because at least with sidewalks, drivers know to be more careful since people walk there.

A theory that’s related to this topic is The Broken Window Theory invented by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982. Britannica.com says,

“They saw serious crime as the final result of a lengthier chain of events, theorizing that crime emanated from disorder and that if disorder were eliminated, then serious crimes would not occur.’

If there were more sidewalks built, then those areas would not be treated like they are nothing. People would not park there because there would be something there. It’s an issue that should be addressed. If something is not done about it, then nothing will change.

What will it take for someone to take action? Will it take someone walking down West Coast Road to get hit to give the ministry a wake up call? The answer should be no, but if nothing is done now then it is a possibility.

All of the residents of Sooke and all the tourists are at risk of being seriously injured or killed. Something has to be done and it’s going to take more than a few people to act. Sooke is a growing community that’ss lacking simple pedestrian safety measures.

So the question is: what are you going to do about it?

•••

Kara Dahmer is a Grade 10 student at Edward Milne Community School.

Just Posted

Intense winds could reach 70km in Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issued wind warning for Dec. 17

Police investigating ‘unprovoked attack’ at Uptown bus stop

Man was attacked while waiting at Douglas St bus stop Sunday night

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

Saanich to hear update on regional sewage treatment plant

Likely subjects of presentation include fate of trees along Grange Road, costs

Man dies after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

Man climbed railing of the Johnson Street Bridge, lost his balance and fell into the water below

CFIA announces recall of some types of cauliflower, lettuce due to E. coli fears

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced a recall of certain types of cauliflower and lettuce due to possible E. coli contamination.

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle and President Trump’s Twitter feed.

‘Spider-Verse’ swings to the top; ‘Mortal Engines’ tanks

“Spider-Verse” has been very well-received among critics, and audiences in exit surveys gave it a rare A+ CinemaScore.

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Struggling Vancouver Island family needs help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

Most Read