Letter: Road safety before convenience

Tuesday, December 6 2016

Vehicular travel safety on Gabriola is so important. Just ask the RDN director, our Island Trust trustees, the RCMP. This would include the ferry area: immediate to the ferry pickup, the ferry lineup and turnabouts, the hairpin corner on Easthom Road adjacent to the ferry area and the parking for the ferry along Easthom Road.

The unsafe parking along Easthom Road…an accident waiting to happen. 

Why is this such a concern? Required travel lane widths for safe vehicular travel are being completely disregarded by those parking [there], and not enforced by authorities. Legal road widths for unobstructed travel in Ministry policy states that the unobstructed road width is to be 7.2 metres or 23.5 feet. When cars are parked along Easthom Road there is never a time when the legal road widths are respected.

So why is this happening? For some Gabriolans the convenience of saving parking money is “at the expense” of the safety of their fellow Gabriolans whenever travelling along Easthom Road. 

The effects are:

• pedestrians are forced time and time again to walk in the lanes of oncoming traffic, as this is the only place available for making their way. 

• vehicles parked on the travel right-of-way, some as much as half of the lane. 

• car doors frequently opening, obstructing up to 80 per cent of the designated lane width. 

• people, including children, suddenly step right out into oncoming traffic without looking. 

• vehicles passing opposite to each other have to stop or tentatively creep by to make their way. 

• during darkness parked cars are nearly unseeable, requiring sudden evasive action to avoid rear end collision. 

• increasing bank instability from parked cars jeopardizing road stability.

“…the Ministry (of Transportation) takes its commitment to the safety of the travelling public very seriously,” stated the regional operations manager of the Ministry of Transportation recently. Further, the Ministry makes clear that, “In terms of parking and the British Columbia Acts and Regulations that control parking, drivers are not to park on the roadway.” 

Clearly, ferry traffic corridor danger on Easthom and also on Taylor Bay Road is being caused by a few people privileging their convenience over the safety of their fellow Gabriolans. Something is seriously amiss here…lack of road safety.

There is a need to alleviate the unsafe conditions on Easthom Road forthwith. Simply put, “No Parking” signs are required.

Never convenience before safety, never.

~ Don Worthing