Public reaction to the Chemainus Road Corridor Upgrade Project brings to mind a previous project that generated a similar response.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think the entrance way into Chemainus looks fantastic – spectacular, in fact. The whole package with a new sidewalk on the east side of the road, lighting, the River Road roundabout and all the landscaping makes a great addition to the town.
While many acknowledged all that, the majority of the people who responded to our call for feedback also pointed out some shortcomings.
You might recall when the Waterwheel Park parking lot was redone several years ago, most everyone also felt that looked great, but lacked some practicality. The parking spaces were thought to be too tight, making it especially difficult to back in and out.
We’ve all gotten used to it over time, but the spaces are small and the cement juts for decorative plants and trees are awkward to get around. This has become the norm with parking lots, particularly at grocery stores, so it certainly wasn’t unique to the Waterwheel parking lot.
We will also get used to all the features of Chemainus Road, even if some of them aren’t sitting well now.
One of the main concerns is with the narrowness of the roadway. It doesn’t seem to be a huge problem at the moment, but many anticipate when the Chemainus Theatre resumes its shows and those parking spaces along the road are more heavily utilized, it could prove problematic.
It seems there wasn’t a large enough space left between the road and the parking spots once people swing their doors toward the traffic.
Others feel having the bike lane running along the other side of parked cars also presents a hazard. Some, of course, would have been just as happy to ditch the bike lanes all together that in many cases are a trendy feature of improvement projects because everyone else is doing them.
The Chemainus Road Corridor is certainly cleaner and modernized compared to its shabby appearance before. We should keep in mind no project is ever perfect and you won’t be able to satisfy everyone all of the time.