View Royal council remains cool to the idea of installing a timed traffic gate at the corner of Rudyard and Helmcken roads.
But neighbouring residents can expect the Town to take additional action to reduce or eliminate the number of illegal left turns onto Rudyard from Helmcken by drivers looking to gain a couple of minutes’ edge on the morning commute into Esquimalt and Victoria.
Given six options with which to address the issue – morning parking by parents dropping children at View Royal elementary also tends to squeeze things along the one-block corridor – council has instructed staff to fine-tune a plan to place physical barriers along the centre of Helmcken Road at Rudyard, and along the school side of Rudyard from the stop sign six metres back to prevent parking too close to Helmcken.
None of the options outlined in a report from engineering director John Rosenberg was met with overwhelming support.
“Nothing appeals to me,” said Coun. John Rogers, who suggested that installing no parking signs on the school side of Rudyard and a median at the T intersection of Rudyard and Helmcken could solve both problems.
As discussions are ongoing between the Town and the Greater Victoria School District for a longer-term solution to the parking issues that plague View Royal elementary, the interim decision was made to install what will likely be a curb to prevent people from parking within six metres of the stop sign, which is already illegal.
During the Jan. 17 council meeting, Rosenberg said an alternative to a concrete Helmcken median could be a series of “no-post bollards” similar to those used on McKenzie Avenue at the Trans-Canada Highway to separate through traffic with vehicles heading to the West Shore.
Council approved a motion to ask him to investigate the cost of both barriers and present them for upcoming discussions on the Town’s 2017 financial plan.
Made aware of the options before the meeting, Rudyard resident Karen McGrath told council during the public participation portion how well received the neighbourhood’s idea of an electronically controlled gate was amongst fellow residents.
“We had no shortage of neighbours on Rudyard and Stormont (Road) and even Glenairlie (Drive) who wanted to discuss a proper fix,” she said. “Out of 113 households we had 85 answers, of which 75 said ‘yes,’ we could accept that proposal. In the past we couldn’t get a consensus.”
Coun. Ron Mattson liked the timed barrier idea, but gauged his final decision to vote for other measures on the tone of conversation around the council table. Mayor David Screech said despite his belief that the matter was resolved in 2015, he was willing to entertain the idea of a median of some sort on Helmcken.