EDITORIAL: Illegal left turns spoil mornings

Imagine moving to what seems like a relatively quiet area, and gradually having that tranquility spoiled.

Imagine having moved to what seems like a relatively quiet area, on a residential neighbourhood street, and gradually had that relative tranquility spoiled due to the impatience of drivers who cut through on their way to somewhere else.

Residents of Rudyard and Stormont roads in View Royal face that reality every morning, as drivers heading to Victoria or Esquimalt cut through to try and shave time off their commute. These residential streets are clearly not arterial or feeder roads. What’s galling to residents is the number of southbound drivers who turn left off Helmcken onto Rudyard, despite the presence of a sign stating that doing so is prohibited between 6:30 and 8:15 a.m. Monday to Friday.

Others attempt to skirt the law by pulling a u-turn further down Helmcken toward the too-short light at Island Highway, then “legally” turning right onto Rudyard. Commuters routinely head up to Stormont, turn right then turn left onto Island Highway at the light on Four Mile Hill. It’s a exercise in impatience, rudeness and gambling, as it has been shown to save a few minutes at best, if one is lucky enough to make the light at Stormont.

These rogue drivers, more than 120 every day according to people who have done traffic counts at the corner, are getting away with bad behaviour. Neither the West Shore RCMP, which no longer has a dedicated traffic section, nor the Town of View Royal, which has heard from residents for years on this issue, including during a public process in March, have found a way to stop the illegal turns.

Residents are taking their frustrations to city hall again next week, armed with a barrier solution that would seem to make their neighbourhood a partially gated community. While a barrier seems a drastic measure that can have consequences for law-abiding drivers, not to mention emergency responders, it’s easy to understand the residents’ frustrations.

Enforcement seems the answer but may never come. And with the McKenzie interchange project soon to slow traffic on nearby Highway 1, the problem will get worse before it gets better. Good luck on this one.

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