It is clear that the governments of the day are not interested one bit, in listening to their employers, us.
In the recent and ongoing debate involving Stickle Road and Highway 97 in the north end of Vernon, the ministry, once again, is more interested in getting into a disagreement with the concerned public than it is in listening to common sense.
In its continual and what seems like pre-programmed position regarding that intersection, the ministry seems oblivious to the fact that it is contradicting itself just down the road.
At the first open house addressing this issue, I couldn’t believe the robotic stance taken by the representatives for the ministry.
It didn’t matter which question we threw at them, the answers were all the same.
Their reasons for not wanting a light are miniscule at best. South on Highway 97, between Vernon Toyota and the Prestige Inn, they have increased the speed limit to 80 kilometres per hour from 50 kilometres per hour, immediately before an amber warning and traffic light-controlled intersection.
The ministry claims that putting a light at Stickle would create an unsafe traffic stopping situation just after the speed zone was increased. Hello? What part is missing here, common sense perhaps?
The point is, the one before Vernon Toyota is very immediate, absolutely ridiculous and always has been, but, it’s there, no doubt as a result of the Ministry of Transportation’s infinite wisdom, (imagining a sarcastic tone is totally suitable now), while the Stickle light idea leaves lots of time and room, making it much safer.
There is an abundance of visibility for traffic going northbound on Highway 97 to see the warning signs, amber warning flashing sign and traffic light itself.
I stood at the exit from 27th Street where it connects to Highway 97 at the north end of the overpass, and at an estimated 80 to 90 kilometres an hour, it took a vehicle 10 seconds to even reach the Stickle Rd., intersection at full speed. From the overpass heading north, you get two to three more seconds even greater visibility as you are elevated.
Either way, that is a significantly larger amount of time and distance to adjust to slowing and stopping before you get to the intersection, than at the 48th Avenue intersection without there being a significant curve involved.
In my humble opinion, the solution is simple and is definitely the light option. The way I see it:
1. A full stop light system with left-turn signals for the lanes.
2. Extend the deceleration lane heading north and increase or add one going south from the Swan Lake RV Park
3. Decrease the speed rate from 90 to 80 kilometres an hour until all are past the Stickle intersection.
4. Construction requirements involving land should be minimal, helping to preserve the wildlife habitat in that area.
I certainly urge all concerned citizens to attend the open house or to e-mail or write the Ministry of Transportation. Let’s show them who their bosses are and get them to make the light choice.
Rory Ian White