Life in the countryside is typically meant to be quaint — and quiet. But for residents living along the most pastoral routes of Agassiz, life is a series of roaring engines, close calls and other traffic nightmares.
A group of people who live along Whelpton, Tuyttens, Mountain View, Fir and Ashton Roads arrived as a delegation at Kent council Monday night, with a stack of letters and a signed petition. They asked council to look at ways to deter non-residents from traveling through their neighbourhood.
“These are narrow roads with no shoulders,” Dave Hastie said, reading from his own letter to council. “We love them and they attract lost of people for exercise and enjoyment.”
But the flip side of their appeal is that many people see it as a quick way through town, by-passing downtown Agassiz to connect to the Lougheed Highway. Drivers that use the area are speeding and taking corners too fast, and semis and gravel trucks are careening through the area, too, they said, causing extra wear and tear on the municipal roads.
“Countless times, fences have had to be repaired by careless drivers,” Hastie said.
Commuter traffic has increased “to the point that it is almost dangerous to be on the road,” Hastie said.
But they weren’t just there to complain. Hastie and others have suggested a number of solutions, which range from putting up stop signs, roundabouts or speed bumps along the route, to posting signs that say “no through road” or “local traffic only.”
They also suggested a series of public education attempts, asking council to write letters to larger employers in the western areas of the district, including Rimex and the two prisons.
Council was largely in favour of looking at options to divert traffic back to the main routes through town.
“I agree with you 100 per cent,” said Councillor Duane Post. “But short of decommissioning the road, I don’t know how you’re going to achieve it.”
Mayor John Van Laerhoven was glad to see the efforts put into suggestions, rather than just complaints, and said a steering committee that could work with staff would be the best next step.
“Considerable thought needs to be given to this,” he said.
The letters have been forwarded to the RCMP, including residents’ requests to have more patrols along the route.
Hastie said there’s no reason for people to take that route, as it takes almost exactly the same time to travel through Agassiz along the highway system. The only way it would be faster is to use the area to speed, unwatched by regular RCMP patrols.
“The time is almost identical,” he said. “I’ve done the time trial.”