A local citizen is urging the District of Squamish to install a traffic light at the intersection of Highway 99 and the Alice Lake turnoff/Squamish Valley Road.
“It has become extremely busy and dangerous. People trying to turn south out of the park face a daunting task against the north and southbound flow of heavy Whistler traffic,” wrote Squamish citizen Susan Brant to the district.
As a local person, Brant said she enjoyed walking the Alice Lake Provincial Park trails but won’t be doing that on the weekends.
“The parking has been overwhelmed by tourists and people from Vancouver attempting to find a little more breathing space in these COVID 19 times. The closure of 25% of the parking lot to promote social distancing is not working as people are parking along the narrow roadways and the highway, creating more danger,” she wrote.
It had been a difficult intersection to navigate for years, she wrote. The intersection is an accident waiting to happen, and one that will have serious consequences.
“The current yellow flashing light is completely inadequate. Please act to alleviate this situation by installing another traffic light soon,” Brant wrote.
Responding to Brant, Gary Buxton, the General Manager of Community Planning & Infrastructure, said Highway 99 was the responsibility of the province and controlled by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The district, however, had flagged this issue with the province, he said.
“We’re also continuing to seek meetings with the Minister in the near future to discuss this issue further and seek a commitment to review and address the issue,” he said.
Mayor Karen Elliott had also raised the issue of highway intersection safety with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) at the UBCM conference.
“I have asked staff to follow up with you to discuss in more detail your concerns about the safety of various locations along Highway 99, such as Alice Lake Road,” Claire Trevena, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, had told her at that time.
Donald Patrick says
Traffic lights do not prevent intersection accidents … they do reduce, but if the bean counters can justify the suggestion of safety improvement than a single lane overpass would be a much better solution and also not impede the north to south traffic which is the reason for the highway, seems we can find the funds to build three pedistrian overpasses that are not utilized enough to justify …. so just look at the effects on traffic flow with the BB traffic light …. maybe time to reconsider the bypass from the Chief area up and around to Bromb Lake if the people of Squamish want access on their terms to these locations. Highways did make an untimatum some years ago about the number of traffic light installations that they would allow on Hyw 99 … but of course many would rather bury that stuff in the sand …. much like the Parking problem we have in the valley.
They can wait on making a lane or an overpass or a motion activated left turn light and another summet will go by and or wsit until a mini van loaded with kids after a day at the lake gets hit.
Then you’ll see them running for excuses and find the money and do something.
As there not been enough accident already… turning left out of Alice lake is like Russian roulette.
Martin Fichtl says
I wrote a letter to the Ministry in August, 2018. Here is the response:
Thank you for your enquiry regarding speed limit on Highway 99 north of Squamish at Squamish Valley Road / Alice Lake Road and the highway. The Ministry always takes priority in safety and mobility and we appreciate your request for more information.
In order to assess the safety performance of the intersection, collision data was retrieved from the Ministry’s Collision Information System in order to analyze collision history, the type of collisions and contributing factors. A total of 7 collisions were reported at the intersection in the last five years (2012 to 2017).
The types of collisions were reported as 5 INJ (Injury), 2 PDO (Property Damage Only) and 0 fatal collisions. The common contributing factors reported were due to driver being inattentive, driving too fast for condition, driver fell asleep, and weather or road conditions (ice, snow, slush). One of them had not assigned a contributory factor and none of them gave indication of unsuitable geometric design, lack of sight visibility or highway signage.
However, the Ministry will perform further safety assessment of this intersection by carrying out a roadside safety review, which includes but not limited to a review of speed limit by undertaking speed surveys and traffic counts.
I trust this answers your concerns.
Nini Nytepchuk, M.Sc., P.Eng.
Traffic Operations Engineer