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New lights a go for bad intersection

Business owner says stop signs would be cheaper, but Campbell River council has already committed $250,000

New $250,000 traffic lights for 14th Ave. and Petersen Rd. are already approved, but a long-time resident tried to persuade councillors to change their minds.

“I don’t believe this is going to help the situation any more than two more stop signs on 14th Avenue,” said Dave Atkinson at Tuesday’s council meeting. “From the perspective of a taxpayer, the traffic lights to me would work no differently than stop signs, other than the fact stop signs come with a heck of a smaller price tag.”

Atkinson is the owner of Wacor Holdings and for the last 20 years has owned a commercial building adjacent to the intersection.

Atkinson noted the problem with that particular stretch of roadway is there is no break in the traffic travelling east to west along 14th which makes it difficult for vehicles coming off Petersen to turn onto 14th Avenue.

He said a four-way stop would be sufficient to allow traffic to safely and easily turn without spending a significant amount of money.

Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, said the city recommended council proceed with lights because of the amount of traffic that passes through the intersection.

The city also intends to put dedicated left-hand turn lanes on all four sides of the intersection, as well as a right-hand turn lane on the north side of Petersen for cars turning right onto 14th towards Maple Street.

Atkinson, however, is concerned that adding extra lanes will make the roadway too narrow and make too difficult for commercial trucks to make the turn onto the Petersen Road hill.

But Atkinson’s suggestions were too late.

Council already approved the $250,000 for lights and other improvements including sidewalks and turn lanes during budget planning in January.

Coun. Claire Moglove wasn’t even sure why the topic was back on council’s agenda when the project has already been approved and city staff have the work ready to go out to tender. The item had been added to the agenda by Mayor Walter Jakeway under “New Business.”

“I’m confused as to why this is here on the agenda,” Moglove said. “There’s no request for action, so I’m not sure why we’re having a discussion in a vacuum.”

Jakeway said the item was simply on the agenda as a follow-up to Atkinson’s comments and that it was an opportunity to either confirm or change the project.

Coun. Ron Kerr said it was time for council to move forward.

“I suggest we move on,” Kerr said. “The train has long since passed. We’re not traffic designers and I think we shouldn’t be involved in this.

“I think it’s one of the worst intersections in town. The conditions and lack of sidewalks in the area and in the whole Campbellton area is disgraceful, and especially in front of that particular property; I would say trucks and machines rule and I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Brian Shaw, co-chair of the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association, said his group supports council in whatever traffic calming measure it chooses.

“It’s suicide to be a pedestrian on that corner right now,” Shaw said. “Obviously lights are very important.”