A Modest Proposal for Safer Pathways to the Ferry

Scott Colbourne

Healthy Transportation Gabriola

Tuesday, May 1 2018

Members of our ad-hoc Healthy Transportation group have been down at the ferry terminal doing counts and recording the initial routes of people disembarking on foot and riding bikes.

We’ve seen some shocking things. In the words of one cycling teen to a visiting friend, “It gets gnarly here, so look out.”

Our terminal is not a safe convergence point for people driving vehicles and people on foot, riding bikes, pushing strollers and minding children, or using mobility aids.

We have produced a detailed proposal for immediate, inexpensive changes to make routes to and from the ferry safer. We know the terminal is due for upgrades in the coming years, but we believe we must make this vital link less dangerous in the interim.

The proposal essentially shifts the infrastructure for vehicles to the right, facing uphill, and provides a pathway for pedestrians on the left of the ramp and then inside of the vehicle line-up. Measurements have been made and there is room for these adjustments.

The plan will see fewer pedestrians interacting with vehicle traffic at the Easthom and Taylor Bay intersections, and cyclists riding up North Road will be separated from people on foot.

We’ve released this plan on social media and, with gratitude, the Sustainable Gabriola website, and have received great feedback about making sure a cross-walk across Taylor Bay does not interfere with off-loading vehicle traffic, and the potential to use a protected ramp pathway for loading to reduce the need to cross to the current gate.

We believe these safe and healthy alternatives will provide many community benefits, including reducing vehicle traffic on the ferry over the summer, and we have shared this plan with Regional Director Howard Houle, who expressed support, and MLA Doug Routley. A formal invitation to visit the island has also been sent to Transportation Minister Claire Travenna.

Feedback can be sent to scolbourne@gmail.com and printed copies of the proposal and a petition will be available at the Spring Fair on Sunday May 6, when we’ll be co-hosting an Electric Bike Parade and Show & Shine starting at 10 a.m. at the Commons.