In ancient times, armies would punish prisoners by making them run the gauntlet.
The victors would line up in two rows facing each other and make the prisoners run between as they beat them into the ground with clubs.
We thought of the gauntlet when we realized the full impact of the proposed left-turn lane into Mr. Wayne Procter’s proposed Dyke Road Gas and Go station.
Mr. Procter and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure (MoTI) are creating the gauntlet by increasing the current two-lane road in front of the proposed GaG to four lanes: an east lane and a west lane for through traffic, a lane in the middle of the road and an entrance/exit lane into and out of the site.
On the north side of the road there’s a vet clinic, the GaG site, and Mr. Bud Wood’s private residence. On the south side there are three businesses: Portuguese Joe’s, Java Junction and Porch’s. This four-lane stretch will be about 286 metres long from the edge of Mr. Woods’ property on the west to the edge of the vet clinic on the east.
So why will this become a gauntlet?
Because of the combination of the narrow road width, the four lanes, the volume of traffic, the speed at which it is travelling and the number of turns in and out of the traffic flow — all funnelled into a very small section of the Dyke Road.
MoTI tell us about 20,000 to 28,000 vehicles a day pass by the GaG site. Though the speed limit is posted as 50 km/h, most of the vehicles are moving at closer to 60 km per hour. There are about 19 possible right- and left-hand turns into or out of the traffic flow.
There is another complication.
On the east edge of the vet clinic are two large poplar trees, which have clusters of eagles perched waiting for feeding time at Portuguese Joe’s. The trees are partially blocking sightlines to the proposed GaG entrance for vehicles travelling from Comox to Courtenay.
MoTI told us previously that because of the sight limitation, the entrance and exit to the property must be in the middle of Mr. Procter’s property. But the entrance actually starts at the edge of the vet clinic.
So there is a good possibility that these eagle-perching trees will be cut to allow Mr. Procter to have his left-turn lane. We’ve already seen workers around the trees taking measurements.
Though the situation is a danger to everyone, it is especially dangerous for cyclists.
It is hard to understand why the cyclists have not been raising holy hell about this situation.
If you are fed up with this dangerous situation, write Ms. Kathleen Wynne at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Editor’s note: Mike Bell is the co-chair of Sierra Club Comox Valley.