Jordan Huber believes safety should trump a Local Area Plan (LAP) when it comes to the question of constructing a sidewalk on a stretch of road where children walk to school.
The mother of four boys has requested the City of Courtenay to consider constructing a sidewalk on Arden Road between Cumberland and Lake Trail roads. Without a sidewalk, or even a white line on the shoulder, she will not allow her boys to walk to school. Two of her boys attend Arden Elementary while a third starts kindergarten in the fall.
She first raised her concerns a couple years back when the City told her a study would consider speed and traffic on Arden between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on a school day. She is not sure if the study has been conducted.
Last month, Courtenay council directed staff to conduct a speed survey and traffic count to evaluate driver behaviour on Arden. Findings will be provided to police for review.
In a letter to council, Huber says she is disgusted with the process and distrusts the city’s “ability to be fair and honest.”
She suggests the Arden Corridor LAP supports the construction of a sidewalk.
In a report to council, engineering manager Lesley Hatch says widening Arden would be as difficult as constructing a new sidewalk. Both options require filling an open ditch system “at a very high cost.”
The report notes city staffers have inspected the road several times, agreeing that speed is only one factor of concern regarding traffic flow on Arden. Another factor is motor vehicle accidents, though data indicates Arden is a safe road. According to ICBC statistics, there have been two accidents at the Lake Trail/Arden intersection and one on Arden in the last five years. None of the accidents involved pedestrians or cyclists.
Hatch also notes the LAP indicates a public desire to maintain rural characteristics.
“The overriding message from the plan is to protect the environment,” she states in the report. “It will be challenging to install a sidewalk without negatively impacting a storm system which leads to fish-bearing streams.”
The report suggests a separated trail adjacent to Arden rather than a sidewalk.
Council agreed to send information from the report to Huber.