Close calls, wonky signs: What some Trepanier residents want the District to fix up on the Bench

It’s one of the weirdest intersections in Peachland – and there’s some high-speed consequences if you screw it up.

Brady Ives had his own close call – and as the Morrison-area Block Watch captain on the Trepanier side of town, he wants the District of Peachland to step up and install a stop sign, one of a few safety measures he says needs to happen.

Ives let me know about all this over the weekend, and says his neighbours agree it’s been a problem for many years.

“I sent this out to everyone on my Block Watch list and got inundated with all sorts of ‘we almost got killed there last weekend, the sight lines are horrible,’ that kind of stuff.” 

On Monday afternoon, I met Brady and fellow Block Watch rep Karen Onrait Casper at the intersection in question:

Picture this: As you ascend Trepanier Bench Road, after Hainle winery, after the entrance to Island View Villas, drivers turn a corner and encounter the Y-shaped situation: You can go left on Dryden Rd (yielding to traffic going down Trepanier), or right to stay on Trepanier, with the entrance to Morrison Cres coming immediately to your right. For those heading left out of Morrison, you’re contending with a blind corner – and vehicles heading up Trepanier are usually picking up speed at that point.

“Even if they’re not speeding, you can’t see around the mailboxes and if someone is coming around the corner, even at 60 km/h, they’re going to take you out,” Brady says.

For ten years, he served on a municipal transportation advisory committee. He believes the solution is simple:

“We want the speed controlled. So, we’re hoping for a stop sign on Trepanier, with the suggested placement where that strip of new asphalt crosses the road and aligns with that current stop sign on Dryden.”

Brady Ives and Karen Onrait Casper met with me on Monday. That strip of new pavement is roughly along where they want the stop sign on Trepanier to be..

 

On August 9, He and Karen sent a letter addressed to the Mayor and Council. In addition to the stop sign, the letter also suggests that crosswalks be painted at Morrison / Cousins and also, adjacent to the existing stop sign on Dryden. And speaking of that stop sign, there’s a problem: It’s positioned halfway around the right-hand turn onto Trepanier, almost parallel with Dryden. So, if you’re on Dryden heading straight onto Trepanier towards Cousins, the stop sign isn’t obvious (and the result of that would become apparent in a minute.)

But first, one of two school busses that arrives every afternoon approached the Trepanier intersection. The driver stopped at Dryden, but did not let the kids off. Instead, she slowly proceeded onto Trepanier and stopped just before Morrison, where she opened her doors. It’s a safer option than stopping at Dryden, we agreed, because then the kids aren’t crossing Trepanier right at that blind corner.

Still, it’s a concern, and as Brady mentioned in his letter to the District, the school division’s director of transportation also has worries about gravel trucks in the area, not to mention the intersection itself. A crosswalk or two would help prevent kids from fanning out all over the place.

“We’ve talked to quite a few people,” says Karen, who has had a front-row seat to this intersection from the home where’s she’s lived for almost 20 years.

“With the traffic, it’s way worse than it used to be, there’s lots of big trucks up here and then just the confusion.” (Markers for Cousins Rd, for example are pointing in an odd direction). 

“For us to try and get out of our driveway is an issue,” she adds.

Brady is wondering why the District hasn’t done anything about all this yet. He says his August letter reached Director of Operations Shawn Grundy, but after a bit of back and forth between the two, there’s been no action. I sent an email his way seeking confirmation on how exactly stop signs are decided here in Peachland (couldn’t find much in the District’s docs and haven’t heard back from him yet).

And Mayor Cindy Fortin said in a text Tuesday morning that although she hasn’t seen Brady and Karen’s letter yet, she knows the intersection has long been a concern.

“(To) myself included, when I used to live up there, due to some fast drivers and people exiting Morrison Crescent. I believe it has been looked into in the past.”

She added she’d support some sort of traffic measure in that area, “but that is something our operations department would have to look into. Sometimes a stop sign can be more of a calamity, but I will look into it.”

Brady, Karen and I wrap up our Monday afternoon conversation and I start my short walk home. I was just putting on my headphones when I heard a yell and a whistle to get my attention – a white Subaru had just passed me on Dryden, driving towards Trepanier – and the driver totally ran the stop sign, right as a black F350 was making a left off Trepanier onto Dryden.

There was another close call right after I left with a grey SUV and a dog walker, too, said Brady in an email he sent later that evening.

“*Sigh*, never a dull moment, unfortunately,” he wrote.

***

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Written by Kristen Friesen

November 9, 2021

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