A procession of hot rods and vintage cars helped mark the opening of the final segment of the West Shore Parkway, which opened on Wednesday morning. The new section crosses the railway tracks and offers a connection between Kettle Lake Drive south to Langford Parkway. The entire 3.5-kilometre roadway now connects drivers from the Trans-Canada Highway south to Sooke Road. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

EDITORIAL: Brushing up on roundabout etiquette

Langford’s newest roadway is controlled by roundabouts instead of traffic lights

The final segment of the West Shore Parkway opened earlier this week much to the excitement of local politicians and residents.

The final section crosses the railway tracks and offers a connection between Kettle Lake Drive south to Langford Parkway. The entire 3.5-kilometre roadway gives drivers the ability to travel from Trans-Canada Highway south to Sooke Road, providing a key north/south connection for residents in the region.

And that’s not all that’s new. The West Shore Parkway is entirely roundabout controlled – including one two-lane roundabout – for the smooth movement of traffic and involves less stopping, which reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

RELATED: West Shore Parkway now open for traffic

It also includes landscaping, solar-powered pedestrian crossings and provides connectivity for cyclist and pedestrians to get to and from the YMCA-YWCA location in Westhills, Belmont Secondary and the City Centre Park’s recreation facilities.

With many drivers itching to try out the new roadway, it’s a good time to brush up on proper roundabout etiquette to avoid crashes or close calls.

When approaching a roundabout, drivers must yield to both lanes of traffic that are already in the circle, as they have the right of way. Once a gap in traffic appears, merge into the roundabout and proceed to your exit.

Signalling can also help avoid confusion. The simple act of signalling left when going straight through a roundabout – only signalling right when you’re about to exit – will let drivers, cyclists and pedestrians know your intentions.

If an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, approaches don’t block its path, keep moving until you’re out of the roundabout. And don’t forget the basics. Continue to shoulder check and look in each direction.

City officials acknowledged it will take drivers a bit of time to get used to the new design – especially the two-lane roundabout – so being patient and not going too fast is key. It will make for a more enjoyable driving experience for all and help get drivers home safely.

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