An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
If YOU HAVEN’T HAD the dubious pleasure of running the Victoria Street West gauntlet during rush hour this week, here’s a tip — keep your wits about you.
Work is underway on what promises to be a two-year root canal, traffic-wise. The City has done everything possible to warn people, reduce the inconvenience, and keep traffic moving but it’s obvious it’s a near-impossible task.
Despite all the publicity, a lot of drivers don’t seem to have gotten the message, and it wouldn’t have done them much good if they did. It took me 15 minutes to move two blocks on Lansdowne Street as vehicles shoehorned into merge lanes and wound their way past City Hall on the detour.
Some drivers courteously allowed others to merge in front of them, some refused or even risked collisions by cutting in when they shouldn’t, thinking it important to get two seconds ahead of the next person.
I watched a guy in an SUV argue with a flag signaller, who patiently told him she couldn’t let him take a short cut via the bus lane because “everybody else will follow you.” He did the throwing-up-of-hands-in-frustration thing, then veered over to get his left fender in front of me.
Other drivers waved their arms at each other as they jockeyed for position in this crazy slo-mo steeple chase. I really don’t know what people are thinking.
There are barriers and signs all over the place with arrows pointing in all directions. It’s slow and painful and confusing.
Hopefully, as time goes on, drivers will become more patient. Right now, they’re a bunch of people behaving badly behind the wheel.
I feel sorry for the businesses on Victoria Street West, too. It’s going to be a tough couple of years.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.