Emergency crews respond to a two-vehicle collision

Irksome Dogwood lights are showing benefits to Campbell River drivers

Accidents at intersections decline on city’s most dangerous stretch

The Dogwood Street lights are putting a damper on traffic accidents.

New statistics provided by ICBC show a decrease in the number of accidents all along the city’s most dangerous road, particularly since the new lighting scheme was implemented in 2009.

“People are probably going to hate to hear this, but since they changed the lights on Dogwood, we’ve been attending far less crashes at intersections,” said RCMP Const. Dave Dormuth, who’s been policing municipal traffic for almost a decade in Campbell River. Changes to the lighting pattern created a lot of grumbling amongst motorists, several of whom expressed their frustration mostly due to longer wait times at intersections as well as lengthier line-ups.

“Dogwood Street has now become a nightmare. Stop and start. Stop and start. Every light,” wrote Roy Moyer in a letter to the Mirror in June 2009.

However, three years later, the start-and-stop routine appears to be having a positive effect and the numbers are there for everyone to see on ICBC’s interactive “crash map” webpage (www.icbc.com/about-ICBC/news_room/icbc_facts).

“I reviewed all the data and it definitely shows a decrease in the number and the severity of accidents along Dogwood,” said Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager.

From 2006-’09, ICBC contributed $526,125 to improve the Dogwood corridor, particularly at the the nine lighted intersections from Merecroft Road and the Island Highway.

This included the installation of lights at the Evergreen Road and 7th Avenue intersections, and two pedestrian-controlled crossing at Robron and Pinecrest Roads. But what really slowed down Dogwood traffic was the lighting pattern change in 2009. That’s when the north-south, two-way flow was stopped.

Instead, southbound traffic proceeded on the green light while northbound motorists waited at the red light, and vice-versa when the lights changed; the two-way traffic does continue on cross streets at intersections. It took several months to “tweak” the lights and adjust them to traffic volumes; and while you may never get the “green wave” – getting mostly green lights when you drive the speed limit – the benefit is improved safety for motorists and pedestrians because drivers no longer have to make “blind” or unsafe left turns.

 

By the numbers:

 

The following lists the locations for the greatest number of accidents in Campbell River. The numbers are provided by ICBC and include all vehicle accidents and mishaps involving pedestrians:

 

2007-2011

 

1. 9th Ave. and Dogwood, 67.

2. 2nd Ave. and Dogwood, 59.

3. Evergreen Rd. and Dogwood, 47.

4. Island Highway and Dogwood, 47.

5. 16th Ave. and Dogwood, 45.

6. Island Hwy. and Jubilee Parkway, 37.

7. Merecroft Rd. and S. Dogwood, 35.

8. Island Hwy. and Shoppers Row, 33.

9. Hilchey Rd. and S. Dogwood, 32.

10. 16th Ave. and Tamarac St., 29.

 

2007

 

1. Evergreen Rd. and Dogwood, 15.

2. Island Hwy. and Dogwood, 12.

3. Merecroft Rd. and Dogwood, 11.

4. 16th Ave. and Dogwood, 9.

5. 4th Ave. and Dogwood, 9.

 

2010

 

1. Hilchey Rd. and S. Dogwood, 10.

2. 13th Ave. and Dogwood, 9.

3. 7th Ave. and Dogwood, 8.

4. Hilchey Rd. and S. Alder St., 8.

5. 16th Ave. and Dogwood, 7.

 

2011

 

1. Inland Island Hwy. and Jubilee Parkway, 8.

2. Tamarac St. and 16th Ave., 6.

3. 2nd Ave. and Dogwood, 6.

4. Island Hwy. and Erickson Rd., 6.

5. Island Hwy. and Shoppers Row, 6.

6. Evergreen Rd. and Dogwood, 5.