View Royal neighbours’ patience tried by traffic tieups

Residents of a View Royal neighbourhood are taking their frustration over short cut-seeking morning commuters to council next week.

The installation of a no left turn sign at Rudyard Road for drivers travelling along Helmcken Road toward Island Highway was one of several measures taken 10 years ago to reduce cut-through traffic on Rudyard road.

Residents of Rudyard and Stormont roads in View Royal are taking their frustration over short cut-seeking morning commuters to council next week.

Tired of drivers heading toward Esquimalt and Victoria illegally turning left off Helmcken Road onto Rudyard between 6:30 and 8:15 a.m., rather than lining up to turn left onto Island Highway at the light, they’re taking an idea for a time-controlled barrier arm system to council for next Tuesday’s meeting.

“It’s a massive problem that’s been going on for years,” said Karen McGrath, who lives on Rudyard Road. Not only are the illegal left turns irritating, she said, the extra traffic makes it difficult for residents of the streets to get out of their driveways in the morning.

With resource-strapped West Shore RCMP only giving the issue minimal attention, she said, and the Town of View Royal having heard about the issue various times in recent years – an open house discussion in March 2015 led council to remain with the status quo – neighbours began researching other solutions than policing the area.

Five or six months of investigating options led the residents group to a system which uses a barrier arm on both sides of the street. People exiting Rudyard onto Helmcken would trigger the arm on the right to go up, McGrath said, while the arm would stay down on the opposite side for the duration of the left turn prohibition.

The cost of the arms is said to be approximately $15,000 each, McGrath said.

A recent petition circulated around the wider neighbourhood collected 113 names, of which McGrath said 86 people wanted to see further action taken on the matter.

The cutting through the neighbourhood of commuter traffic has been a source of concern for residents for more than 10 years. Back in 2005 and 2006, the Town took several measures to cut down down on the practise.

Speed humps were installed on Rudyard and Stormont roads, the pedestrian crosswalk at Stormont and Island Highway was converted into a fully signalized intersection, and a regulatory sign prohibiting left turns from 6:30 to 8:15 a.m. Monday to Friday was put up at the corner of Rudyard and Helmcken roads.

The illegal turns have continued unabated, and while the RCMP conducts sporadic enforcement at the corner, McGrath said, many drivers turn illegally anyway if the officer is busy writing someone else a ticket.

The Town held a public open house in March 2015 to revisit the issue and came away without a further solution.

“I think we just went through a very public process in regards to Rudyard and Stormont,” said Mayor David Screech. “The residents had the opportunity to weigh in with their opinions and the majority chose the status quo. I am not interested in opening the issue again so soon.”

He added that he has difficulties with the idea of gating a public road, even if it is only at certain times of day. He worries that taking such an action would set a “terrible precedent” and could potentially make access difficult for emergency responders and other vehicles needing access.

Some residents, including McGrath, voiced their concerns about traffic in the neighbourhood last month when council was discussing a residential development project on the former fire hall building site on Island Highway.

Residents spoke to the potential for further traffic congestion on their residential street if vehicles emerging from the apartment complex are forced to turn right only. They pointed out that drivers heading into town would likely turn right onto Helmcken, then right on Rudyard and again at Stormont, from which they could turn left onto Island Highway at the light at the top of Four Mile Hill.

McGrath said she and others fear what the situation may look like once construction on the McKenzie interchange gets going in earnest.

Tuesday’s meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 45 View Royal Ave.

Just Posted

Victoria feels the pinch at the pump as gas prices jump 18 cents

Gas up to 157.9 cents per litre at some stations

For Central Saanich couple, fight against MS is a matter of family

Altenkirks sell greeting cards and wooden bowls to raise money for MS Society

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Coast Collective ready to Raise the Roof with Langford art auction

The fundraiser is Friday, Oct 18 at the Royal Canadian Legion on Station Road

Saanich residents planning Halloween fireworks displays must plan ahead

Folks are required to attend one of three safety courses, buy a permit

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Most Read