Letter: Serious engineering issues on gravel pit stretch of Metchosin Road in Colwood

One West Shore resident questions the design of road upgrades on Metchosin Road in Colwood

Re: Colwood council must act on bike lanes for Metchosin Road (Letters, Sept. 30)

Having cycled this road on a regular basis for 35 years, I read with interest the concerns about a lack of a separated bike lane on Metchosin Road heading downhill beside the former gravel pit, whereas one was recently created on the uphill portion of this section.

About a week after I read the letter, I contacted the Colwood engineering department to inquire why a separated cycle path had not been installed. They said it would have been “very easy to install,” but they decided to defer its installation because of concerns of transitioning from a separated bicycle path to a non-separated bicycle path on the other side of Latoria Road. Hmm, I said.

Following that conversation I took my trusty old tape measure and my modest 33 years of municipal engineering experience and drove to the site. This is what I observed:

1) The new utility pole installed at the intersection of Metchosin Road and the new Latoria is located right in the middle of the proposed bicycle lane.

2) The elevations of the tops of the new underground Hydro vaults located beside the new pole are so high that if a bicycle were to cross them, even at a modest speed, the cyclist would end up being airborne through the intersection.

3) The combined design of the curb/sidewalk crossing and new Latoria sidewalk are incorrectly designed to accommodate a separate bicycle lane.

4) The engineering required to transition from a separated bike lane to a non-marked one is straightforward. These types of bicycle transitionings are installed all the time, particularly in developing communities. Many examples, good and bad, are seen on Latoria and Happy Valley roads.

5) The cost to relocate the pole and adjust the elevation of the Hydro vaults, if possible, would be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

6) A deceleration vehicle lane should also be installed on the “gravel pit” side of the road, as one has to come to a near complete stop to turn right onto Latoria Road. Again, the current intersection design is not as safe as it should be for a major road such as Metchosin. A left turn lane from Metchosin onto Latoria should also be considered, sooner than later.

It is clear there has been some significant design oversights on this stretch of road. One can only hope that Colwood council acknowledges these oversights and takes immediate corrective action.

Ian Phillips, Langford

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