FOULDS: On the road to an accident in the Tournament Capital
The car was in the other lane, the proper lane.
It was travelling about 50 km/h, right at the speed limit.
It was going through a busy intersection and it had a solid green light.
Yet, it came within a foot of being part of an ugly head-on collision with another car that was moving by the inch, edging ever so slightly to the left.
To see (add an inch . . . ) if a left turn (add an inch . . . ) was possible — SWOOSH!
That would be the sound heard and felt by the driver of the car trying to make a left turn from Hugh Allan Drive, south onto Highway 5A, which leads into the city from Sahali/Aberdeen.
If you have ever used that intersection and attempted to turn left at that spot during busy weekday morning as commuters head to work, you probably know that SWOOSH well.
Countless are the times I have seen or been involved in a near-catastrophe due to an intersection that is in serious need of repair. realignment, re-jigging — whatever it is that can fix the death trap that faces drivers travelling east on Hugh Allan Drive as it crossed Highway 5A and becomes Summit Drive.
Each year, ICBC released the most accident-prone intersections in cities and towns across the province.
In Kamloops, Eighth Street/Fortune Drive, Columbia Street/McGill Road, Columbia Street/Summit Drive and Highway 1/Vicars Road seem to always dominate stats culled from accidents.
If near-crashes were added to the list, surely Hugh Allan/Highway 5A would garner inclusion.
There are experts in city hall and in Victoria who are paid to ensure the roads are safe.
But, simply driving these roads day in and day out can reveal more than guidelines covering distance, speed, lane width and median placement.
An easy solution at Highway 5A/Hugh Allan might be to install a left-turn signal for eastbound traffic, if only between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again for an hour or two during the late afternoon rush.
Of course, this being Canada — where conversation centres on hockey, the weather, traffic and hockey — I would be remiss if I did not include a few other traffic-design nightmares in the Tournament Capital.
• Take the eastbound Highway 1 exit at Pacific Way — please.
Vehicles coming off the freeway arrive at a stop sign at Hugh Allan Way where, during various times of the day, crossing traffic is so dense that making a left turn is virtually impossible.
The fact this stop sign is within spitting distance of the traffic light at Pacific Way/Hugh Allan Drive adds to the congestion. Who designed this?
• For the genius who signed off on the parking lot design of the Summit Shopping Centre, I suggest a penalty of being forced to park an RV — nose-first — into one of the stalls on the north side of the development and back out, repeatedly.
The parking spots in front of the row of stores housing The Old Town Market, Cob’s Bread and Summit Meats are adjacent to a corridor that has to be the narrowest possible permitted under city guidelines. Anyone who has tried to manoeuvre in and out of this area knows exactly what I mean.
• The yield command facing southbound traffic trying to drive onto Overlanders Bridge. The yield sign means just that — yield — yet doing so during busy times means having vehicles stacked all the way up the on-ramp, creating a stressed-out and impatient line of vehicles breathing down the neck of the lead vehicle inhibited by the yield sign as traffic whizzes by.
Perhaps the pressure is why many drivers treat the yield sign as a merge icon and create havoc for unsuspecting southbound drivers on Fortune.
• Finally, a traffic jam just waiting to be spread on drivers in Aberdeen:
The Esso gas station at Rogers Way and Highway 5A has received approval to add a Tim Hortons drive-thru to its building.
The addition of another of the iconic donut and coffee franchise speaks to the roaring success of the franchise named for the former Maple Leaf defenceman — and kudos to the double-double machine for seeing success a mere block from an already busy standalone store just down Rogers Way.
However, unless the city has a plan to guide traffic out of the Esso/Tim Hortons and east on to Rogers Way (and a traffic light is out of the question as the intersection is a Dylan Armstrong shot-put toss away), be prepared for caffeine-fuelled congestion.
Have I missed any questionable road planning? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.