Richard Smith’s Maplewood Road home has become the site of constant car crashes. He is underwhelmed by the actions of the municipality and the repair job on the pole fronting his home. (photo / Tim Collins)

Saanich residents living in a crash zone

Stretch of Maplewood Road the site on numerous crashes

Richard Smith has become accustomed to the sound that a car makes when it crashes into a utility pole.

That’s because, throughout the 12 years that Smith has lived in his Maplewood Road home, there have been a string of incidents in which cars, speeding along Maplewood, have lost the corner and crashed into the utility pole in front of his home.

The most recent crash occurred a week ago and managed to split the pole vertically as well as removing a large chunk of the pole at bumper level.

Smith pointed at the pole, clearly disgusted with this latest occurrence.

“Oh, a lot of people from the utility, I think it was Telus, came out and looked at the pole, and you can see the repair job they’ve done,” he said, gesturing at the half inch nylon rope looped around the pole a few times and secured with a granny knot.

“I’m not inspired by that repair job and I wonder if they’re planning to do anything beyond that. It gets hit again, or even if there’s a strong wind … that thing is coming down.”

It’s not the first time the pole has been damaged. In one instance it was sheared off completely and, last year, it was clipped when a speeding car struck a parked van and pushed it through Smith’s front yard, demolishing his fence and damaging the hapless utility pole.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we recognize the sound when it happens,” said Smith, adding that the pole on the other side of the road has also been hit several times.

The problem, he explained, is that the roadway has increasingly become a speedway and the s-turn configuration of the road, combined with the hill in the middle of the curve, frequently sees drivers lose control of their vehicles.

Smith indicated the reflectors nailed into the pole and explained that they were not placed there by either the City or the utility, but rather placed by concerned neighbours.

“It’s at the point where we are uncomfortable walking along the sidewalk here, always looking over our shoulders because you never know when the next driver is going to lose control and plow through here. If they can push a van along the sidewalk and into the pole, think about what they would do to someone out for a walk.”

Smith claims to have given up on complaining to the municipality but admits that he hasn’t filed any formal requests for a number of years, primarily because his last attempt to seek help met with what he described as an unconcerned response.

“What they need to do here is to reduce the speed limit and enforce that speed limit as well as posting the road with those ‘curvy road’ signs. If they don’t do something, someone is going to get killed along here and then it’ll be too late.”

Harley Machielse, Saanich director of engineering, said that the municipality’s records show that the last time a complaint was lodged about Maplewood Road was in 2009. At that time it was judged that no action was required on the stretch of road in question as it was deemed to be “a low concern”.

As to the hapless utility pole, Machielse explained that it was not the municipality’s property and not their responsibility to repair or replace. However, having seen photo’s of the pole repair, he promised that the municipality would be in contact with Telus to address the situation.

Telus was contacted for a comment but had not responded to the emailed request by press time.

 

A week after a crash on Maplewood Road, the split utility pole remains held together with yellow nylon rope. (photo / Tim Collins)

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