Five years ago, my wife and I moved to Vernon. We had previously been involved in roadside cleanup programs and decided to continue with that activity after discovering that there was a pressing need in Vernon as well.
In our first years in this community, we did cleanups from the Pleasant Valley Road/Silver Star Road intersection to the Foothills area. We continue to do seasonal cleanups along a route now co-ordinated by our area’s Adopt-A-Road program.
Cleanup along Silver Star Road has led us to the conclusion that sections of the road are incredibly dangerous. In fact, a fatality has recently taken place. A young cyclist died in an accident at the intersection of Silver Star Road and L&A Road.
Let me clarify the situation as I see it. The issue is not one of aesthetics, although the road from the Pleasant Valley Road/Silver Star Road intersection to the Blackcomb Way development is presently a patchwork of potholed and repaired, dilapidated lanes. The critical issue is a lack of roadway safety.
This road is much too narrow to accommodate the heavy volume of traffic it experiences year-round, and particularly so during the winter season. As well, there is little or no room along sections of the road for safe walking or cycling. We Vernonites should be embarrassed that this is the safest motorway our city can offer to visitors travelling to the world-class facility up on Silver Star Mountain.
Two sample problem areas:
1. L&A Road/Silver Star Road intersection:
When driving east along narrow Silver Star Road, the road makes a sudden sharp turn to the left. In the centre of that curve, it intersects with Pleasant Valley Road, which itself has a steep downhill grade leading to the tight, right-angled intersection. Amazingly, there are no turning lanes. A recipe for disaster, which unfortunately became reality. In remembrance, bouquets of flowers continue to be placed along the roadside at the site of the accident. To fully appreciate the problem, one needs only to drive past the dangerous and unsightly T-intersection, which appears not to have been upgraded since our pioneer days.
2. Upper Star Road/Silver Star Road intersection:
Cars slowing down on Silver Star Road and wishing to turn to the right on to Star Road are sometimes forced off the road and onto the sloping gravel shoulder by cars and trucks bearing down on them from the rear. The scenario is somewhat similar to that outlined immediately above. Silver Star Road is also curved at the site of this T-intersection and, in addition, has a rather steep gradient. Turning lanes at the site would seem to be the most obvious remedy, a suggestion put forward by area residents on several occasions.
We are hoping that these pressing matters will be addressed and that this busy Vernon roadway will become much safer. To that end, correspondence has been sent to the mayor, to city officials, including our six councillors, to the NORD administrator and to the minister of of transportation. A firm action plan with a timeline for implementation of a major overhaul to this entire section of our community’s road system has been requested.
Let’s not shelve these issues and hide behind the tired argument that jurisdictional factors prevent anything from being done.
In support of the parents who recently lost their son in the Silver Star Road accident, we believe there is an ethical obligation to act now.