The death of Meesha-Chan Grubisic on Goldstream Avenue on February 13 is prompting nearby residents to reiterate longstanding concerns over the safety of that stretch of road.
The issue is not a new one and as recently as July 2012 residents expressed to the Gazette concern over the safety of the stretch of Goldstream Avenue from the Trans-Canada Highway to Leigh Road, due to speeding vehicles and blind spots. At the time West Shore RCMP described the area as “a real hot spot” for speeders.
Speed is not believed to be a factor in Grubisic’s death. Police say glare from the early morning sun likely prevented the 50-year-old Kamloops driver from seeing Grubisic in time, who was on the road retrieving her dog.
Mark Ward has lived on the 1200-block of Goldstream Avenue for 22 years and said residents have argued for years for traffic calming measures to be added to the road.
Ward describes himself as an avid walker who used to roam the area but, because of safety concerns, now drives to calmer areas for his strolls.
“I’ve given up walking on that road; you’re dodging boats, you’re dodging trailers,” Ward said. “But kids won’t. It’s the kids coming home from school. … It’s a totally dangerous situation.”
Ward’s nearby neighbour, Lynne Ferrie, doesn’t blame drivers and said it’s the city and the RCMP that need to do more to make the area safe.
“We’re all guilty of it, you come off a highway and you don’t realize how fast you’re going,” Ferrie said. “I really think we’re lucky there hasn’t been more accidents.”
Ward would like to see speed bumps installed along the road, but City of Langford engineering manager Michelle Mahovlich said Langford doesn’t install speed bumps on municipal streets. Working with ICBC traffic safety engineers, Mahovlich said the city’s research shows speed bumps don’t work, as people tend to accelerate aggressively after them to make up time and speeds are not reduced overall. Mahovlich added that in Langford’s view speed bumps are also a hinderance to snow plows and emergency vehicles and create increased noise from vehicles.
“The city doesn’t recommend speed bumps on any of our municipal streets,” Mahovlich said.
Some changes have already affected traffic on this stretch of Goldstream Avenue and others are still planned for the future.
The exit at the end of Goldstream Avenue on to the Trans-Canada Highway was closed off a number of years ago, which Mahovlich said decreased the amount of traffic on Goldstream significantly.
Then the closing of the Spencer Road exit into Langford in 2013 increased the number of vehicles exiting onto Goldstream Avenue, by about 100 cars per day according to City of Langford traffic counts, Mahovlich said.
Goldstream will be closed to traffic exiting the highway once an southbound offramp onto the Leigh Road Interchange is built, however there is no timeline for that as the project awaits provincial funding.
“We have been having ongoing discussion with the (Ministry of Transportation) for that, very recently,” Mahovlich said. “We’ve had people writing in and all those concerns have been put forward to (city) council for consideration.”
The city did install a display informing drivers of how fast they’re travelling in an attempt to reduce speeding. There are no other traffic calming measures in the works for the time being.
Some residents expressed scepticism over when, if ever, the Leigh Road Interchange will be complete and Goldstream Avenue closed off to the Trans-Canada Highway completely. In the meantime they maintain more needs to be done for safety in the immediate future.
“Certainly something can be done before they build that south exit off the highway,” Ward said. “It’s a residential street with hot traffic coming down it.”