I am concerned that the recent traffic safety measures implemented in Squamish are not targeted towards the areas that need them the most.
The $250,000 spent on the 300 meters of barrier on Government Road, north from Depot, and the proposed reduction of speed limits on streets without center lines are two examples of missed targets.
The city of Vancouver reduced the speed limit to 30 km/h on a section of one of their busiest roads, the six-lane wide Hastings Road, because that was an area identified as dangerous. I would suggest, from my experience, that Cleveland from Highway 99 to Pemberton Avenue is an area of concern in our town.
This zone needs to be re-engineered.
Certainly, Government Road, north of Depot, in Brackendale is not a dangerous zone. The speed limit there is already only 30 km/hr, twelve hours of the day, five days a week. The traffic volume there is low with the exception of about 30 minutes before and after school. Anecdotally, cycling this section for the last 18 years, I have never experienced anything dangerous nor heard of an injury or fatality to a pedestrian or cyclist at that location. Brackendale Elementary School already had very safe access.
Now, compare this to the three schools located near Cleveland and Buckley. No safe access for more than 1000 students if arriving from the south or east. I understand there is no easy solution, but this is the problem area that needs to be addressed. The barrier on Government Road was a waste of money. As a cyclist, it is a considerably worse situation. A biker has to commit to the sidewalk or the roadway because the barrier does not allow movement from one zone to the other. The roadway section is too narrow to allow safe passage by cycle. When there are pedestrians using the sidewalk side of the barrier, safe passage is not possible on that side.
In addition, some residents now park their vehicles on the new, wider sidewalk. There are so many dangerous interruption points in our cycling infrastructure which, with a small investment, could be vastly improved They just need to be identified.
An example is the railway crossing at Leski’s. Also, as a general principle, bicycles and pedestrians do not mix. This system only works now in Squamish because the volumes of pedestrian and cycle traffic are currently so low. I do not understand why the DOS pursues this model.
Martin Fichlt is a resident of Brackendale.