Campbell River residents tired of Dogwood traffic spillover

Residential street has become the short cut of choice for motorists

Neighbours worried about children’s safety are speaking up about how their once quiet street has changed because of a council decision made four years ago.

Residents on Nicholls Road say their residential street has become the short cut of choice for motorists trying to avoid the Dogwood lights.

Pat Barber, who lives on Nicholls, said drivers often come down his street instead of having to wait at the traffic light.

“Nicholls has become a fairly major thoroughfare with the light changes on Dogwood,” Barber said. “People will skip that light and hit us like an interchange.”

The traffic lights on Dogwood Street and intersections between Merecroft Road and 9th Avenue were reconfigured in June of 2009 at a cost of $470,000. The goal was to improve traffic safety by allowing vehicles to turn left off of Dogwood unobstructed.

While councillors, such as Claire Moglove, have argued that the lights have served their purpose and cut down on accidents at Dogwood intersections, the lights have also prompted a flood of complaints from drivers.

The lights even started to irritate city councillors.

“Today going north-bound I hit a red light at 4th, I hit a red light at 7th and I hit a red light at 9th at about 4:56 in the afternoon. Is there not anyway we could please better synchronize the lights?” Coun. Andy Adams asked city staff at a council meeting in early October of 2010.

Staff did eventually tweak the lights and reported the adjustments did shave Dogwood travel times by up to four minutes between Merecroft and 9th Avenue.

But Nicholls Road residents say those changes haven’t had much of an effect in cutting down traffic along their street.

Drivers are still turning onto Nicholls in order to avoid waiting at the light at Evergreen and Dogwood.

Kelly McCay, who has young children, worries about safety along her street, especially with the recent Evergreen Seniors Home’s proposed expansion onto Nicholls.

“Since the installation of the light on Evergreen, we have had an increase of traffic travelling down our road, trying to save a few seconds by not waiting at the red light,” McCay said. “We are concerned about how much more traffic this business will bring to our road. We do not have sidewalks and the street can be quite dark at night.”

At a council meeting March 19, Coun. Larry Samson served notice that he will be bringing forward a motion at the next council meeting asking for a traffic assessment on Nicholls Road into potential traffic increases due to the 27-unit addition to the Evergreen Seniors Home and that the assessment investigate the possible increase in traffic using Nicholls Road as a bypass to the Evergreen and Dogwood intersection.