School District 69 (Qualicum) crossing guard helps Springwood Elementary students safely cross at Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street in Parksville on Dec. 9, 2020. (Mandy Moraes photo)

Parksville city council to take further look at safety upgrades for controversial intersection

Staff members present report on review of Despard/Moilliet crosswalk

  • Feb. 18, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Future safety measures at a busy Parksville intersection will have to wait.

During the regular council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17, city staff members presented a report on the safety review of the crosswalk at Despard Avenue and Moilliet Street. Though the report contained four options on possible infrastructure upgrades, council ultimately decide to defer the motion.

The staff report, dated Feb. 7, read that “while the safety review found there to be no technical problems at the intersection, staff are recommending infrastructure upgrades to improve the overall safety of motorists and pedestrians.”

An internal safety review was first initiated following two emails sent to staff that raised concerns about proximity to both development construction and Springwood Elementary School.

Three of the four options detailed in the report included a request to increase funds beyond the $25,000 currently in the existing Safe Routes to School Budget, in order to accommodate improvements.

The first option would cost less than $10,000 and involved replacing the existing single solid centre line with a double solid line for approximately 95 metres to encourage single-lane traffic and discourage passing of slowing and turning vehicles.

READ MORE: City staff members, school district officials to discuss high-traffic Parksville intersection

The second option requested an increase of $5,000 to the budget, totalling $30,000, and would involve the improvements outlined in option one, and additionally a realigned zebra-style crosswalk and sidewalk letdowns to reduce the crossing distance and improve visibility of pedestrians.

The third option requested an increase of $27,500 to the budget, totalling $52,500, would include the improvements outlined in option one and two, and adds the addition of visible pedestrian-activated flashing beacons.

The fourth option requested an increase of $77,500 to the budget, totalling $102,500, and would improve motorist recognition that the north leg of the intersection is intended as a private access to the Trillium Lodge and Oceanside Health Care Centre. The report stated that, combined with the three previous options, option four would provide the highest level of safety improvements.

Mayor Ed Mayne suggested simply putting a stop sign at the intersection to create a four-way stop. He said the traffic count of Despard is approximately 1,900 cars a day, which does not equal a “horrendous” pile of traffic.

Coun. Teresa Patterson raised the request to defer the motion, and stated council hasn’t done enough with involving the school district representative.

“I’ve heard the Safe Routes to School and everything quite a bit around the table, and I think that needs to be addressed and focused on primarily.”

Six council members voted in favour of the deferral, with Coun. Al Greir opposed.

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