The roundabout coming to the bottom of Rockland Road has caused quite the ruckus, but Mirror reporter Mike Davies says he thinks changing for the better is of value even if what’s in place isn’t that bad. Image courtesy City of Campbell River

MIKE’S MUSINGS: Better is better, even when things aren’t bad

Roundabout at Rockland and Highway 19A will be an improvement, and any improvement is good

As my fellow Mirror reporter – who I now consider a good friend despite having only known each other for about a year – David Gordon Koch, leaves town to begin another adventure, I am reminded again that change seems to be the only constant in this world.

Dave is on his way to a new opportunity on the East Coast to continue his journalism career. By my understanding, he’s not leaving because he was offered a higher position than he had here, or that he’ll be getting paid significantly more for his work. It’s essentially a lateral move that may or may not end up to be a better situation for him on a personal level.

I wish more people could look at things that way. Change for change’s sake isn’t always a bad thing, after all.

Sure, sometimes it is. Like when Facebook decides to change the layout of its app for seemingly no reason or when your old phone is still working perfectly fine, but a new version came out, so you go blow a bunch of money on the “upgrade” that really isn’t one.

But wait.

Maybe that change to Facebook’s layout (once I’m used to it anyway) becomes much more user-friendly and intuitive. Maybe that new phone is essentially the same as the old one, but it holds its charge longer and a few months later you find yourself stuck with a flat tire somewhere with seven per cent battery left. Your old phone would have been dead and you wouldn’t have been able to call for help.

Because even if things aren’t bad, they can still be improved.

Like the corner of Rockland Road and Highway 19A, for example.

It’s not a terrible intersection. Sure, it can take a little while to turn left off Rockland when traffic is moving steadily along the highway, but I’ve used that intersection, on average, probably six times a week for the past five years, and I’ve never waited more than a couple of minutes to make that turn.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, and while they’re ripping up the ground to replace sewer lines seems like a pretty good time to do that, so they can get some economy of scale on the work being done.

“But it’s a waste of taxpayer money!” people say. “We don’t need to spend money on a roundabout!”

Well, we need to spend the money on putting the road back into decent shape after the infrastructure underneath it gets replaced, don’t we? And I bet that roundabout won’t cost that much more than rebuilding the roadway the same as it was before. Why not make what could be an improvement while they’re at it?

And yes, for the record, I do think it will be an improvement. I think anyone who has used roundabouts with any frequency will tell you that once you get used to them, they do help keep traffic flowing where it converges.

“But people here don’t know how to drive! They’ll cause accidents!” comes another argument against the change.

While I tend to agree with that – based on what I personally see out there on the roads – I don’t see how frustrating “bad drivers” with a stop sign they have to wait at – probably causing them to accelerate into traffic before it’s actually safe to do so – is better than forcing the learning curve that comes with a relatively straightforward traffic feature upon them.

Anyway… it’s a thing that is happening. It’s been in the plans for over a decade.

Can we just settle down with the outrage and wait and see how it goes?

Let’s be all a little more like Dave: open to the possibility that change might actually be good, even if the current state of things isn’t that bad.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

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