The Municipality of North Cowichan is considering what measures can be taken to deal with traffic concerns on Indian Road and Beaumont Avenue.
Council received two separate and informal petitions from the residents and neighbours of Indian Road and Beaumont Avenue, containing 39 and 67 signatures respectively, suggesting that some traffic calming measures are necessary.
The petition concerning Beaumont Avenue in Maple Bay requests that North Cowichan install speed bumps and speed signs in the vicinity of the avenue’s boat launch and beach access.
The petition states this is a very busy area, especially during the summer months.
“Boat trailers are backing out on and off all day, families and children are walking to the beach, and rowers, dog walkers, kayakers all access this area, plus the traffic that comes and goes from the government wharf,” it said.
“At the same time, cars and motorbikes are speeding down the hill from Arbutus Avenue and the [Lion Rampant] pub. This is a very dangerous combination in a recreational area.”
The petition states that the speed bumps in the area of a nearby park have worked well and a similar configuration could work well in that area of Beaumont Avenue.
Similarly, the petition concerning Indian Road, located near Quamichan Lake, pointed out traffic concerns related to visitors to Art Mann Park, the close proximity of the road to Queen of Angels school and the seniors at the Abbeyfield long-term care facility with mobility issues who regularly get out and about.
The petition also states that members of the national rowing program, who practice in Quamichan Lake, like to bike to and from the lake for training and are at risk, as well as the area residents who regularly walk along the road.
“Speed bumps similar to what the municipality has done along Herd Road in Maple Bay and Drinkwater Road would effectively reduce the problem,” the petition said.
“We urge you to proceed with this improvement for the health and safety of our residents in the immediate future.”
Clay Reitsma, North Cowichan’s senior manager of engineering, told council at its meeting on Oct. 7 that the municipality has received numerous petitions over the years from various parts of the community expressing similar concerns and asking for action to be taken.
But he said North Cowichan shouldn’t just respond in a “knee-jerk” reaction to them.
“We need to look at these requests in context with our policies around traffic calming, the numbers of vehicles [that use the roadways in question], and the speeds involved,” Reitsma said.
“All this information needs to be considered when deciding if [traffic] calming measures are required.”
But Reitsma pointed out that there are sometimes other considerations and circumstances involved, including on Beaumont Avenue where there is a small area around the boat ramp that causes congestion on the roadway.
“There’s a lot of activity in a small area, so maybe we want to take a look at what can be done to improve safety there,” he said.
Reitsma said staff have taken traffic counts to determine the average speed and volume of traffic on Beaumont Avenue.
He said they identified some additional safety concerns, but did not determine there was a need for traffic-calming measures.
After a brief discussion, council directed staff to carry out a study to determine potential safety improvements and risk mitigation measures for Beaumont Avenue.
As for Indian Road, Reitsma said staff had recently conducted a study of the road, which is recommending some traffic-calming measures be taken, but more information from Rowing Canada is required before staff can bring the report to council for consideration.
Council directed staff to engage with the community before bringing a report back to council with proposed traffic-calming methods on Indian Road.