Residents near Esquimalt Lagoon claim that neighbouring roads are getting increasingly dangerous as more and more commuters use the area to avoid traffic along Metchosin and Sooke Roads.
Milburn Drive, Lagoon Road and Ocean Boulevard are the main problem routes, and residents have taken their concerns to the City of Colwood and West Shore RCMP.
At a protective services committee meeting late last month, several residents spoke up about the issue, including Craig Booth, who has lived on Milburn Drive for 52 years.
“(It’s) a lack of enforcement,” he told the Gazette. “52 years ago you couldn’t speed around anywhere and I think that (with) the housing being built at Royal Bay…I think people are coming along Metchosin (Road) and cutting down.”
The retired Booth recently spent his morning counting the cars that came down Milburn Road during rush hour. He estimates that of the 255 cars he counted, 220 were going above the route’s 40 km/h posted speed limit.
“Some were doing I would say close to 80 and a lot were doing 60, 65 or 70,” he said. “There’s one truck here that I estimate does over 80 every morning.”
Booth says that speeding concerns coupled with the lack of a sidewalk has kept a lot of his neighbours from walking to the lagoon.
“My wife used to try and walk (Ocean Boulevard) every day. She won’t go down there in the morning now…It does have quiet times. During the day it’s fairly quiet. I’d say the traffic is bearable (then).”
At the meeting, some residents noted an increased RCMP presence in the area recently, a trend they hope will continue.
Others put forward ideas for traffic calming measures, from speed bumps to painted crosswalks and street art that would aim to give the area an improved sense of community.
Insp. Larry Chomyn spoke at the meeting and acknowledged the validity of the concerns from the residents, noting that the area has received an increased police presence recently and that he will be meeting with members of the detachment’s traffic unit over the concerns raised.
Help from the public, including citizen reports made to police, are other means of improving the situation, Chomyn noted.
Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer with the West Shore RCMP, wrote in an e-mail that “the concerns raised around Lagoon Road have not only been passed on to the traffic section, but to the whole detachment, including the general duty members.”
On Monday, Colwood council passed a recommendation to have city engineers look into the concerns and prepare a report on traffic volumes, speeding and pedestrian safety in the area.
“If it was my neighbourhood, I certainly would hope that the City would consider doing something to make it less attractive to drive quickly through this residential neighbourhood,” said Coun. Cynthia Day, who chairs the protective services committee.
A study on these concerns could run alongside an existing initiative to improve the blind intersection at Heatherbell Road and Lagoon Road, Mayor Carol Hamilton noted.