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Columbia Street crossings raise concerns

May 12, 2016 11:32 A.M.

Two neighbourhood associations want the City to take a closer look at crossing safety along the Columbia Street corridor through downtown.

Sagebrush Neighbourhood Association and Downtown Neighbourhood Association say that safety issues persist along the corridor despite improvements completed last year. 

“It’s dangerous to try to cross the street because you just can’t see,” said Don Ferguson, SNA president. He also noted the lack of enforcement and questioned the absence of a speed-limit zone around Prince Charles Park.

In a letter asking for action from the City, Don Ferguson and Bruce Thomson said that intersection markings are inconsistent, poorly marked and inadequately policed. The result is that people park their vehicles too close to Columbia, blocking sight lines for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists attempting to cross the thoroughfare. They say traffic flow along Columbia appears to have sped up after the 2015 corridor upgrading.

The issue was discussed briefly when City council met earlier in the week. A followup memo from Marvin Kwiatkowski, planning and development services director outlined recent safety upgrades along Columbia and cited a 2014 consultant’s pedestrian safety review.
The study found no pedestrian sightline issues exist at the 9th, 10th, and 12th Avenue intersections, though it recommended a special crosswalk at 11th Avenue to improve sightline. That addition was completed last year. However, Kwiatkowski said pedestrian activity and safety will continue to be monitored along the route.

Coun. Marg Spina, a resident of the area, questioned the significance of the safety concern while pointing to recent improvements.

“I keep hearing from people that they’re so pleased the City listened and did something about it,” she said.

“To me, the problem is more on of sightlines,” said Coun. Denis Walsh. “I’m not sure if six metres is sufficient on a street where they’re basically going 60 km/h … I think what’s needed there are more crosswalks and just safer walkability.”

Walsh said the City needs to do more to encourage more people to walk downtown.

Ferguson said after Tuesday’s council discussion that they didn’t do a formal survey of residents on the safety issue but it is a common concern. The association tends to rely on word of mouth, having recently done a neighbourhood walk and park cleanup, he said.

Carol kennell says:
May 12, 2016 10:12pm

Well here I am again, wondering if all f this t worth it, how do we get a point across to a council that has so much n their plate. Well best get them t come out here and try and cross the street at all times of the day.
My immediate concern is this the new crossing at 11 th. Has anyone come down her and looked at the final project. Yes it is all good it s just missing a few more things, a side walk on both side ago f 11 th coming down onto Columbia street would be helpful for kids on bikes elderly and just plain old people. Now if someone would just look T the flashing lights that when you drive from the east towards the west. The lights on the south side are hidden by the too tall hedge that the property owner has grown.
So don't we have some limits to vision lines Nd shrubs growing on the edge of properties?
Let just deal with the small issues and some of the stuff will. Ore the ts self, we don't need a engineer to figure this out, I can do it myself. That me. Eco of life and common sense. Please someone get out of your car and walk a block or two and just pay attention to how are you going to cross the street. Sixth ave and Columbia is needing so corrections. Me very one is asking. Why do we have three lanes coming from the east and a designated lane to turn south into sixth, we don't need three lanes. Now adjust the lanes coming from the west and people wouldn't be last minute cutting other drivers off, I see this every day and just wonder when an accident is going to happen. It our goal to mention tot he councillors to hay hay. We are pleased with the upgrades, it just that there are some flaws. Let's fix them now and then no one needs to be blamed or finger printed, Sheesh this is a no brainer, we don't want to make aves just point out the oops and get them steam lined. We are a simple neighbourhood with simples lives and walking feet. Let stay on track. Who want to step u to the plate and get it done.

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Pierre Filisetti says:
May 12, 2016 07:58pm

From reading the article I get the impression that most of council and senior staff never walk our city.
Columbia Street is dangerous to cross everywhere but so is Summit Drive, Hillside Drive, McGill Road and Notre Dame Drive, just to name the ones in the south sector.
Kamloops is driving town, through and through.
Changes coming? Not anytime soon I am afraid.

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