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Pedestrian crossing to be installed at crest of hill on Courtenay thoroughfare

Professional driver questions safety of having a crosswalk at the top of Ryan Road hill
A truck on Ryan Road approaches Cowichan Avenue at the turnoff to NIC in Courtenay, where the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has decided to install a pedestrian crossing. Scott Stanfield photo

A pedestrian crossing is being installed at Ryan Road and Cowichan Avenue at the turn-off to North Island College.

Though located in Courtenay, the road falls within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Raylec Power will conduct the work, which is expected to begin Monday, Feb. 22. Prep work is underway.

“That’s the crest of the hill,” said Laureli Morrison, a professional driver who lives in the Comox Valley. “How can you spell stupid? They never even consulted anybody. I’m totally baffled…It’s not even the truck drivers that are going to get hurt, it’s the little old lady in the Prius.”

The ministry said the decision to install the crossing was made in consultation with the City of Courtenay and the regional district, and in support of the city’s transportation master plan.

In a statement, the ministry said it ensures that engineering and safety standards are met before implementing any new traffic or pedestrian signals.

“Ryan Road at Cowichan Avenue has a two per cent grade which is acceptable on approach to a signalized intersection, and should not be an issue for vehicles stopping and starting.”

Courtenay Coun. Manno Theos said residents in the Uplands Mobile Home Park, and others in the neighbourhood south of Ryan, have long been requesting a pedestrian crossing at this location. He notes that a pedestrian overpass would cost about $10 million.

“It will meet demand that was at least 10 years in the making,” Theos said, recalling comments when he canvassed the neighbourhood during past elections. “There was a consistent flow of comments that really wanted to see this happen. It’s exciting that finally they will have at least some measure of reinsurance that they can cross and not have to run for their lives.”