Carolyn Anele Dickson pushes her son Charlie

Carolyn Anele Dickson pushes her son Charlie

Accident waiting to happen, again

Residents demand action over unsafe stretch of Okanagan Landing Road, between Harbour Heights and Smith roads

Dana Albrecht can’t fight the flashbacks every time a motorist zooms past her.

“I just cringe,” says the 17-year-old who was struck by a vehicle while she was walking her bicycle across Okanagan Landing Road in February 2010.

It’s an incident that changed her life forever.

“I have a brain injury and cognitive problems,” she said.

Albrecht and other residents of Okanagan Landing Road are increasingly concerned about safety on the narrow, windy stretch between Harbour Heights and Smith roads.

“A telephone pole has been knocked out twice and there have been cars in yards,” said Barry McDougall. “This road is so scary.”

Vehicles, residents say, regularly exceed the speed limit and there is no shoulder for pedestrians.

I don’t walk on the road anymore because it’s not safe,” said Shirley Ogasawara.

“The kids can’t ride their bikes around here,” added Dustin Cameron.

Vehicles backing out of yards have poor visibility because of blind corners and there are no barricades to keep vehicles from plowing into yards.

“We never see any enforcement for speeding,” said resident Bonnie Johnson.

Much of the frustration is directed towards the City of Vernon.

“We tried to get the message across two years ago but there’s been nothing really done,” said McDougall.

“There’s been no traffic calming and we need something done.”

Residents — although no one will reveal who — have taken measures into their own hands and sprayed safety markings on the road and installed homemade signs urging motorists to slow down.

“It’s very frustrating,” said McDougall of the city’s response. “All we want is some attention.”

As well as improved signage, the residents are calling for speed bumps or rumble strips to modify driving habits. But Albrecht hopes they just slow down.

“Saving some extra time isn’t worth possibly hitting someone,” she said.

City of Vernon officials insist they are aware of the neighbourhood’s concerns.

“We are assessing the speed and the volume of traffic on the road. We are investigating the concerns,” said Amanda Watson, transportation technician.

“We have also put up additional signage to indicate the nature of the road (curves).”

Watson says one of the challenges in proceeding with upgrades is the narrowness of the area but some land has been purchased to assist with conditions.

“The long-term plan is to widen pedestrian facilities but we can’t do that until we expand the right-of-way,” she said, adding that speed bumps and rumble strips are being considered as part of policies.