Letters: Sidewalks needed more than trails

Local business owner concerned with lack of sidewalks

Even though I received a hand delivered notification of the pending clearing of the corridor, there was no mention in the document of the upcoming meeting, nor any links or references to the design details of the connector. I feel there should have been, and the fact there wasn’t is troubling.

I am very much opposed to the design that is being recommended.  By the tone of the press release it sounds as if this recommendation has already been approved by council, although the Transportation Plan of 2008 determined that sidewalks would run the length of the corridor.

After some digging through the DoS website in order to find the proposed plan, I can clearly see that sidewalks are not part of this design.  As much as I like trails, in this case, a trail is most certainly not a better alternative to sidewalks.

I was one of many dozen people who took part in the appropriately thorough public consultation processes back in 07/08, which lead to the Transportation Master Plan.  The outcome of all the meetings and open houses resulted in a parallel connector concept which included sidewalks on both sides of the road.

Changing that at this late moment, with only a month’s notice to the public makes me question the credibility and transparency of this process under this council.

I understand how badly the DoS wants to use the multi-use trail grant won by the previous administration for the mulit use trail connection between Church and Phillips Road, but I don’t think that’s a compelling enough reason to shirk the responsibility of responsible civic investment in our public roadways, even though in the short term, it’s cheaper.

To my mind, the existing multi-use trail connector, which cuts through John Phillips Park and heads to Journey school ought to be paved, as that will attract more people to using it for transportation and recreation- like a Galloping Goose right in Sooke.  That would be more effective at getting pedestrians and cyclists a safer or more pleasant alternative to using roads.

While I’m on the topic, I understand that Anna Marie Road is also to be changed.  While in general I support road improvements which contribute to public safety and to better traffic flow, what I’ve heard is that the Townsend Road intersection design will be replicated at Anna Marie and Highway 14, and I don’t see how that will accomplish either of those goals.

I think a better place to start would be by getting a handle on the uncontrolled intersections on either side of Anna Marie Road, where it intersects Highway 14.  The same could be said for a great many other uncontrolled intersections along the highway. A right-in, right-out at Anna Marie at this point seems premature, and will not be good for the businesses on the road.

I don’t know if a traffic count has ever occurred on Anna Marie- I’ve never seen one.  But with Midway and the library seeing dozens and dozens of visits every day, I foresee significant problems being created by restricting access to Anna Marie Road without the immediate incorporation of counter measures.

One last thing; the crosswalk that’s been created in order to connect the new gravel path parallel to Church road has got to be the most dangerous crosswalks around.  The sight lines are almost non existent, and the traffic levels and speeds that intersection see, especially during school pick up and drop off, already make it a dangerous intersection.

At least put up some of those flourescent signs that alert people of a road change.  When school’s back in session after the winter break, there will be a lot of activity at that intersection and I would hate to hear of someone being hurt or killed there simply because council disregarded the importance behind road users being made aware of such a significant change to the road.

Lorien Arnold

Sooke