Esquimalt beautification a hazard to pedestrians

Medians, signs in Esquimalt obstruct drivers' view, endanger people

When Esquimalt Road was being “beautified,” I thought, “What a waste of our money! Oh well, at least we’ll get the crosswalk that’s been sorely needed for 30 years since I moved here.”

Instead, an obstruction was placed right in the middle of the intersection. From the weedy island in the middle of the street you can’t see westbound cars coming right at you and they can’t see you until you actually step out, because there’s a pole and a broad, full human-height sign right there entirely blocking the view. (I begged staff in writing not to put a pole there. It’s been struck by a car and replaced since then.) Drivers aren’t even aware they’re in an intersection. If any citizen were to create such hazards, the municipality might fine them.

Pedestrians from this little neighbourhood need to cross here and they don’t detour to an inconvenient crosswalk and back. Instead of doing their public duty to their citizens, the town seems to feel that somehow it protects them from being sued by accident victims by needlessly making it extra dangerous instead.

Other inconveniences were created at the same time. Narrowing to two lanes made it safe to turn left onto Dominion, but it was made a no left turn. Now we drive three sides of a square on an even narrower street to go north. And they’ve made it almost impossible for big trucks to get between Esquimalt Road and the industrial park area. A sign on Old Esquimalt Road says no trucks, but there’s nowhere a truck can turn off. Trucks now do a lot of backing up in the streets around here, including across the middle of Esquimalt Road to make the narrow turn onto Rothwell, since Dominion is needlessly verboten.

I’ve spent too much time writing letters to Esquimalt council and to the access committee. As one resident put it, “You take your life in your hands to cross there.” And I know I’m not the only one who complained when the work was being done.

I’ll vote for anyone who says they’ll fix the intersection and put in a crosswalk, and I won’t vote for any candidate who makes no such promise. Perhaps someday we can elect representatives who put people’s needs ahead of vegetation.

Craig Carmichael

Esquimalt