LETTER: Rural roads in Vernon no place for walking

Ministry or contractors, who am I supposed to call?

Is it really safe to walk on our rural roads ?

I usually like to walk around my block near my home for exercise. However, it is becoming more dangerous as cars fly by with a lot of drivers unaware that they can cross a single yellow centreline legally in order to avoid hitting a walker with their mirrors. I and a retired RCMP officer have both had to jump into the ditch on several occasions to avoid collision with a vehicle.

The problem is compounded by the deplorable state our shoulders, which are maintained by the Highway’s Maintenance Contractor. On a lot of BX roads, there are virtually no shoulders, as weeds are allowed to grow up to and over the edge of pavement. If you have a complaint, the Ministry of Highways tells you to phone the maintenance contractor. The Ministry has virtually hired the “fox to guard the hen house,” as there is limited staff scutinizing the contractor’s operations.

Speeding is another problem. Posted speed is 60 kilometres per hour, but I have witnessed speeds in excess of 100 km/h . One cyclist passing me asked if he was on the Minneapolis 500, I told him it was more like the Autobahn. When I motion the speeding drivers to slow down, I usually get the “Pierre Trudeau Salmon Arm Salute” (middle finger).

Broken up pavement is another issue. Asphalt patching is a futile exercise as the asphalt mix has nothing to adhere to. Instead of fixing the underlying sub-base, the roads are paved over with another three-to-four inches of asphalt over an existing 14 inches of asphalt. Putting one Bandaid over another is not a solution. We need to get to the root of the problem and rebuild from the bottom up.

Some of our rural roads are used by students walking to and from school and by students walking during their P.E. class. The west shoulder of Francis Street where it curves into 39 Avenue, for example, is washed out leaving about a four-inch drop off the edge of pavement, making it dangerous to both pedestrians and vehicles alike. A vehicle hitting this drop would likely flip upside down. We need action now before someone gets killed!

— Pete Shatzko, retired Civil Engineer


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