Council drives ahead with controversial road work

Attempts to sideline a contentious change to traffic flow hit a dead end.

Council voted 4-3 Tuesday to deny a motion for a two-year delay for a median on 30th Avenue that would prevent left turns from 28th Street.

“People in Vernon don’t like change,” said Coun. Jack Gilroy, who wants the project to proceed this summer.

“If we do it now, it’s done. If we defer it for two years, there will be more problems.”

The motion to delay the project was made by Coun. Bob Spiers, who says a ban on left-hand turns will force vehicles on to other roads.

“We’re going to get a bunch more traffic past St. James school,” he said.

“I’m really worried about traffic flow past the school.”

The median is part of the 25th Avenue extension, which may not occur for 10 years. The catalyst for the median now is the new library and the Nixon Wenger office at 30th Avenue and 28th Street.

“If we don’t put it in now, the library and law office will get used to a traffic pattern that will drastically have to change in the future,” said Ed Stranks, engineering development services manager.

Staff also reports there have been about five accidents at the intersection in three years, and traffic will increase because of the library branch.

“It’s a matter of safety and we put safety  before convenience,” said Rob Dickinson, engineering manager.

However, some businesses on 28th Street have concerns that a median will prevent customers from accessing their storefronts.

“There has to be more consideration of the businesses,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol, who supported Spiers’ motion.

“We always say small business drives the economy but that doesn’t prove out with this. We shouldn’t be doing this at this time.”

The debate began when Coun. Shawn Lee expressed some concerns about the median and whether it is necessary. But, in the end, he voted against Spiers’ motion and supported the project.

“I don’t want to be a micro-manager,” said Lee.

 

“We should continue with what the professionals have decided.”