Letters: Wrong priorities for roads

Sooke's proposed roundabout will be unsafe says letter writer

Your report (Feb 18, 2015) on the presentation made by Bill Jones and Carol Mallett to Sooke Council highlights one of the main reasons that the installation of a roundabout on Sooke Road at the Evergreen Mall entrance is such a bad idea – it will make pedestrian travel on the north side of Sooke road much more dangerous, particularly for those who can’t nimbly jump out of the way of moving vehicles, such as people on scooters, in wheelchairs or pushing strollers.

The main reason for putting in a roundabout is to ensure a nice, steady traffic flow from all directions. Currently, vehicles leaving Evergreen Mall must stop and wait for a break in traffic and for pedestrian traffic on the north side of the road to clear before proceeding. With the roundabout, cars are expected to continue straight into the traffic flow within the roundabout, without stopping. Pity on the poor pedestrian who steps out onto the road expecting the cars to stop for them, as they always have before.

Similarly, vehicles turning left into the mall have to stop, wait for a break in the traffic, and for pedestrian traffic to clear before proceeding. With the new roundabout, eastbound cars going into the mall will go into and stay in the circle until they turn left into the mall.  These vehicles in the circle have the right-of-way and so it’s traffic on Sooke Road that has to slow down to let them proceed.  The last thing a car in the circle wants to do is to stop halfway through to let a pedestrian cross. A slow moving pedestrian, such as one with a mobility aid is placed in extreme danger.

But , I think, this issue represents a much bigger concern – what kind of community are we trying to be? Carol Mallett said it as well as it could be said, “If you make the town good for people with disabilities, you make a town good for everyone.” The accessibility issues in the downtown area have been known for at least seven years. The proposed solutions have always had strong community support. Yet council after council has done diddly-squat to start solving these problems, preferring instead to spend millions of dollars on connector roads and on a roundabout that will make the problems worse, not better. All of these other projects are intended to reduce the commuter time for a relatively small number of car drivers. There is not now, nor has there ever been, a demonstrated show of support for these expensive road projects, yet they continue to get funded ahead of  smaller, cheaper projects that will make life easier, safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and people with mobility aids.

Hopefully it’s not too late for council to realize that a new roundabout that will only expedite traffic movement into and out of a mall is not a high priority at this time, and that more attention must be paid to making Sooke a much safer, more pleasant place to be for those who choose to walk or have to get about in in something other than the ubiquitous automobile.

Rick Gates

Sooke

Just Posted

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Most Read