Roadways clarity on Easthom and 40 kph speed zone in Village

Sounder News

Tuesday, June 16 2015

Transportation Ministry staff responded to some follow-up inquiries following the Roadways meeting hosted by the Gabriola Transportation Association and Ratepayers Association on June 4 with Ministry representatives.

Sonia Lowe with the Ministry provided clarity on two of the issues brought up.

40 kph speed in Village

Realizing 40kph zones in the southern part of Vancouver Island are on roads where speed limits are controlled by the municipalities....if the three elected taxation authorities on Gabriola (Islands Trust, Regional District of Nanaimo and Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District) made a request to have the speed limit on North Road reduced to 40 kph in the so-called Village Core, would MOTI consider having the speed limit reduced there?

Answer: Ministry staff are open to receiving feedback from the Gabriola Island community, and should there be specific safety concerns, the ministry is happy to work with the community to address these issues on a site specific basis.

At this point, ministry engineers have assessed the speed limits on North Road and determined that they are appropriate.

Privately fund widening of Easthom Road

As the Ministry allows private citizens to put monies towards seal coating, would it be possible for a group of persons to privately pay for other roadwork improvements to be done, such as the Easthom Road widening?

Answer: Yes. The ministry regularly permits local roadway infrastructure improvements by third parties, as long as the permit for improvements meets ministry specifications for safety and road construction.

The ministry is aware that Easthom Road narrows to a single lane, and staff continue to monitor the safety and operation of the road at this location.

At the Islands Trust Local Trust Committee meeting held on Thursday last week, trustee Heather Nicholas said she had been at the Roadways meeting, and had noted when Ministry staff said it would help with getting funding for the widening of Easthom if the Islands Trust were to provide some clear expression of interest on behalf of the community in getting that done.

The Transportation Ministry has a is a Community Safety Enhancement Program which has dollars for improvements.

The widening of Taylor Bay road and installation of the cement barrier to protect cyclists and pedestrians was a project done through the same program in 2013.

As Nicholas said, “compeition for dollars is stiff. The Ministry staff indicated a letter of support from the LTC would be a helpful piece of the puzzle.
“But it is also an issue that requires more digging into to understand what we are getting in to.”

She and Trustee Melanie Mamoser both suggested referring the issue to the LTC’s Transportation Advisory Commission to seek advice on what submission the LTC should make to MOTI regarding the potential widening of Easthom Road above the ferry terminal.