Lisa Ward and Amber Winspear, two of many concerned staff members at Alder Medical Clinic who were calling for council to address the traffic situation at the corner of Birch and Evergreen, citing safety concerns. Council went one step further and decided to install a four-way stop at both that corner and the intersection of Alder and Evergreen. Mirror File Photo

Campbell River to install two new four-way stops at Evergreen Road near hospital

Evergreen and Birch, as well as Evergreen and Alder, to receive four-way stops ‘immediately’

Traffic patterns are about to change significantly around the new hospital.

At this week’s meeting, council decided to instruct city staff to install a four-way stop at the intersection of Evergreen and Birch Street, another at Evergreen and Alder, and paint the curbs yellow around the new Campbell River Hospice facility.

Mayor Andy Adams proposed the four-way stop at the Evergreen and Birch intersection, saying now that the new hospital is open, pedestrian traffic has increased at that intersection. When combined with the opening of the new hospice facility up the hill, the Alder Medical clinic on that corner, as well as on-street parking being a constant issue in the area, “when I see vehicles coming over the hill and down Evergreen and people at the Birch intersection, people sort of aren’t sure who’s doing what and where,” Adams says. “I think it’s an accident waiting to happen and I’d like to see it put in sooner rather than later.”

Adams also suggested that staff review the intersection once the old hospital building comes down, “and we can see what the impact of that is for the area.”

“This is, as the mayor has indicated, somewhat evolving with the change in how the hospital is being developed,” said general manager of operations, Ron Neufeld. “We all recognize that the parking situation is going to change in the long term.”

Neufeld added that in terms of the immediate installation, the costs can be covered within the existing operational budget, as they are “not significant,” and he would also “certainly would support the mayor’s suggestion that once the existing hospital is demolished and turned into a parking lot, that this intersection would warrant further review.”

“I’d like the crosswalk reviewed there, too,” added Coun. Ron Kerr. “There’s some challenge to pedestrian traffic and some confusion at that particular intersection.”

Coun. Michele Babchuk then proposed the addition of another four-way stop at Evergreen and Alder Street. After some discussion about due process and council having proper notice of motions to come before them so they can receive input from staff, it was decided that intersection would receive one, as well.

“This has been ‘being looked at’ for years,” Babchuk said, “and there have been numerous reports about incidents. From 2011 to 2015 there were 16 incidents there and I want to make sure that this does not fall off the radar…. That whole area from 2nd to Evergreen on that Alder corridor should be being considered more like a hospital zone than what we’ve considered it before.”

Coun. Larry Samson supported the installation of both four-way stops, saying, “the more we can push the traffic over to 2nd Avenue, which is more of an arterial road and built for it, the better off we are.”

Both sets of four-way stops are scheduled to be installed “immediately.”

To further address Evergreen Road, Adams also pitched the idea of having the area around the new Campbell River Hospice facility designated as “no parking.”

Adams says that with all the on-street parking happening in that area because the full complement of parking for the hospital is not yet available, “people coming out of that facility are edging right out into the flow of oncoming traffic before you can see if a vehicle is coming and safely enter into the roadway.”

Cornfield wanted that no parking zone extended all the way down the hill to Birch Street, at least on the north side of Evergreen, because he said that “people parking on both sides of that street really narrows things down considerably…I think (having no parking on one side) would sufficiently widen and improve the flow of traffic down there and make it a lot safer.”

In the end, it was decided city staff will install the yellow curbs around the entrance to the hospice facility but council will wait for staff recommendations before deciding how to go forward with a long-term solution for the rest of the block.

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