The general consensus is the Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade Project looks great, but there are some logistical issues with the design causing concern.
The project has essentially been done for several weeks now, with Milestone Equipment Contracting Inc. recently putting the finishing touches to the landscaping of the trees, plants and shrubs along the roadway.
Everyone’s had a considerable amount of time to get a feel for the new look and the various components.
Resident reviews accentuated the positive change, but also pointed out some of the shortcomings.
“I grew up on that road and the difference is astounding,” noted Eric Lofgren. “The whole thing looks fantastic.”
“It looks terrific,” agreed Bob Isbister.
“I think it looks great,” concurred Dylan Livingston. “My only issue is with parking and bike lanes on both sides. It doesn’t leave a lot of road room. Not bad now, but see it being an issue come summer tourist season.”
“Looks great,” noted Kelly-Ann Argue. “It is narrower in some parts. I can’t wait to see what the horses think of it when they get going again.”
“Drove through town and the project looks great so far,” observed Kathy Smith.
The River Road roundabout was a contentious issue at the beginning. But drivers have found it works well to keep traffic moving. Nothing to do with the design, but drivers still need an education on using a roundabout, many folks agree.
“I love having the new roundabout,” commented Christina Pasanen. “I live in the Mill Creek subdivision and haven’t had to sit there waiting as cars speed past to get onto Chemainus Road. That’s the absolute best part. It was a constant problem trying to get onto that road before, especially when people were speeding. Of course, it’s a learning curve, but people will get it.
“I also love all of the landscaping and plants. It has made the area look so much cleaner. I’ve noticed there have been flowers added that are bee and pollinator friendly. So that’s a plus. My only complaint is that the roadway is much narrower. It’s a noticeable issue when there is a lot of traffic or large trucks and it looks unsafe for people getting out of their cars. I don’t think I would park there. Overall, I’m very happy with the change, though.”
“I think that there are a lot of unnecessary small strips of green space that will be difficult to keep up with landscaping,” added Alana Starkie. “The driving lanes are too narrow now with bike lanes on both sides, one side only would have solved that issue. Cars are parking in the bike lane so that they can safely open their doors and get out when traffic is going by.
“Now that the street lights are turned on, they are on the wrong side of the sidewalk, so the road is lit up more than where pedestrians are needing to see on the sidewalk. The left turn on to Chemainus Road from in front of the theatre is still a blind spot to pull out. You have to inch forward until you are able to see oncoming traffic. I mean, it looks nice, but I think there are some impractical parts that looked good on paper only.”
“I agree with all your comments,” Judi Graham indicated. “It looks great, but many serious design issues when actually using.”
“Well said,” Kathie Fox added. “It looks good, but actual driving area is too narrow. Wait until the theatre is running again and parking area is full and then the buses arrive. It could be quite difficult.”
“It looks amazing, ” Heather Baillie-Plester enthused. “Now if only some people know how to use blinkers in the River Road roundabout.”
“Yes, we need an education blitz on how to use all roundabouts,” Judy Kosolofski pointed out.
One of the biggest issues besides drivers who don’t keep moving when it’s their turn to enter the roundabout is not signalling right to leave the roundabout. There is no need to signal when continuing left in the roundabout.
“I don’t believe blinkers are mandatory,” observed Vernie Ordano Francis. “I recently took my motorcycle course and I was surprised when he said that you don’t have to when in a roundabout.”
“Hard to figure out which way cars are going without a blinker on if they’re keeping on Chemainus Road and not going up River Road for cars at roundabout going south,” countered Baillie-Plester.
Bike lanes were also brought up as an issue in comments.
“Part of the bike lane is up beside the sidewalk which is safe and great but then it’s like they got confused and mixed up which side the boulevard and bike lane was supposed to be on,” noted Lori Moore.
“Much too narrow and dangerous with the bike lane on the south side,” Russ Charles indicated. “You don’t dare open either door when parking.”
“Bike lane going south is dangerous with cars exiting driveways,” Keith Palou commented. “Especially when they are backing out. Roundabout etiquette needs to improve.”
“Just don’t run into the right side of a car in the circle and you will be OK,” assured Charles.
“I have seen a majority of bikers riding alongside the cars not using the bike lane,” observed Kathy McKinley Shaw. “I agree it is very dangerous.”
The final words go to Jonalee Gagnon. “It was many months in the making but more than worth it,” she summarized.