LETTER – Resident ponders City of Courtenay’s infrastructure priorities

Dear editor,

I applaud Courtenay city council’s efforts in establishing more infrastructure for active and sustainable transportation. I am a family doctor and work and live in downtown Courtenay. In my daily commute I leave from the Old Orchard area by car, travel to the Puntledge Park area to drop my son off at a private childcare, then I travel up Ryan Road to see my patients in hospital before driving back downtown to Cottage Medical Clinic at 6th Street and Fitzgerald.

During my morning commute I notice the large infrastructure investment in the Old Orchard on 2nd, 3rd and 4th street with updated curbs, sidewalks and paving. I see the bike lanes and traffic calming on 5th street between Fitzgerald and Menzies. I also see elderly, disabled, students and young parents waiting for the bus in the rain, with no shelter. I sometimes see my own frail elderly patients sitting on their walkers waiting for the bus.

Then on my way up Ryan Road, I see people carrying their groceries on the shoulder of the road between the RCMP barracks and Back Road. I see mothers with strollers on the shoulder of the road making their way to the bus stop or to Back Road from the bus stop. I see people waiting on the grass next to Back Road waiting for a bus.

During the dark months, as I drive down Ryan Road from the hospital I strain to see the dark outline of people’s silhouettes walking on the shoulder of the road in the rain. I keep thinking to myself, I hope none of these pedestrians will be hit by a car and have to be treated by my colleagues at the hospital. When is the town council going to build a sidewalk and protected bike lane here? I believe the area around Back Road has the highest population density in Courtenay, many of whom rely on active and public transport. Surely Courtenay city council is considering this corridor in its city planning.

While I am pondering this, I have driven back to Fitzgerald and 6th and am waiting at the stop sign on 6th to cross Fitzgerald. A pedestrian crosses in front of me from the west to the east side of 6th, then the pedestrian crosses at the pedestrian-activated amber light crosswalk to the other side of Fitzgerald, then makes their way back from the east to the west Side of 6th St. and continues on to where they are going. I wonder what pedestrian data was collected during the time when the trial four-way stop was in place at 6th and Fitzgerald. I finally turn right as it is difficult to cross this intersection. I then turn left and go up the alley to get to my office parking lot. I look at my clock… I am late… I think to myself, I wish I could get my act together to be able to start biking to work.

Nancy MacPherson,

Courtenay

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