Road upgrade sought

Blue Jay subdivision residents claim Old Kamloops Road is not safe

Residents along one Vernon road say their lives are at risk every time they go for a walk.

Demands are growing for the city to install a paved surface along Old Kamloops Road, from 43rd Avenue to the Blue Jay subdivision, for pedestrians.

“The present (low) level of usage is because of the safety issue,” said resident Karen Wheeler.

Wheeler isn’t impressed by recent comments from an official that there haven’t been sufficient accidents to warrant upgrades.

“We do not intend to become a statistic to see our road improved.”

Vehicles often exceed the posted 70-kilometre-an-hour speed limit and there is nowhere for cyclists or pedestrians to go if they are in trouble.

“There are few safe spots for school buses to stop and pick up children,” said Wheeler, adding that the inability to bike or walk safely is forcing people from the area.

“More young families would be willing to move to the Blue Jay subdivision where housing prices are lower.”

A paved lane could cost about $150,000, and while there is no money in the budget, city politicians say they are aware of the problem.

“I used to ride my bike on that road but I don’t any more because I can’t afford the dental work from losing my fillings,” said Coun. Brian Quiring of the pot holes and uneven pavement.

One challenge is Vernon is only responsible for the road up to the Blue Jay subdivision. After that, the road is in the regional district and the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham says there could be opportunities for the city to do safety upgrades when the regional district has dug up the road for water utility projects.

“I’m often confused with the process. We  need to look at more co-ordination,” she said.