Left-turn signal approved

The City of Vernon will put $50,000 towards a left-turn signal at 32nd Street and 39th Avenue

Traffic flow may soon improve at a busy Vernon intersection.

The City of Vernon will put $50,000 towards a left-turn signal at 32nd Street and 39th Avenue and the remaining $25,000 will come from the Ministry of Transportation or the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

“It’s about time and we’re glad it’s here,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky of a left-turn signal.

Currently, anyone attempting to turn left off Highway 97 on to 39th Avenue has to generally wait for some time until there is a break in northbound traffic. That often results in traffic blocking the southbound lanes.

The situation became heightened when the city relocated the tourism information centre to 39th Avenue this summer.

“A left-turn signal will be advantageous for the public. It will be a safety improvement,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

The latest statistics show that the number of people stopping at the visitor information centre has grown since it moved to 39th Avenue in June.

The total visitors from June 10 to Sept. 30 at the new centre was 12,991 compared to 10,836 during the same period in 2013 at the two former tourist booths.

Relocation of the visitor information centre was contentious, with some residents insisting tourists wouldn’t find it and motorists would experience a challenge getting off the highway.

“We have gained visitors and the tourism advisory committee is to be commended,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

“I’m pleased to see it’s worked for the better.”

Because there is some vacant space at the visitor information centre, the city will put out a call for expression to see if a business would like to use the space.

“Maybe we can sell local arts,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe, adding that the goal of leasing out the space should be to draw visitors and residents to the centre.