EDITORIAL – Vicars intersection remains a disaster waiting for a solution
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE VALLEYVIEW FRONTAGE ROAD has resurfaced for discussion.
The situation there is a disaster waiting to happen. The point at which Vicars Road intersects with the frontage road and hits the East Trans Canada has got to be the most dangerous intersection in Kamloops.
At City council’s development and sustainability committee, Coun. Bill Sarai asked for a study into what could be done to ensure that transport trucks stopping on the frontage road can do so safely.
The Vicars intersection wasn’t mentioned specifically but it provides me an opportunity to rant about it. It’s the one the big rigs typically use to pull off the highway and swing onto the frontage road to park. There are usually several of them lined up.
They don’t seem to create many problems there specifically but they’re part of a bigger issue because, as they pull off the highway, they enter a very tight, congested space as traffic comes down Vicars or the frontage road — some wanting to go straight ahead and others wanting to turn left or right and everybody meeting in the middle.
So, hopefully, the City and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure can come up with something that will provide safe parking for the commercial trucks but there’s no point in carving out parking spaces without taking a serious look at how they get to those spaces.
The options are limited. Extending the bypass to avoid Valleyview and instead run below Juniper is no longer an option. Neither is moving the frontage road further from the highway and reconfiguring the intersections. Both options are too expensive and controversial.
Wouldn’t it be possible to add traffic signals at all points of the intersection and synchronize them so all those vehicles could avoid each other?
Traffic engineers would probably find reasons that it would be impractical, but it’s time for some creative thinking on how to fix this disaster of an intersection.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think what would make the most sense would be to investigate all options. The area between Valleyview and Juniper is a large area. I see at least five options:
1. Bypass tucked against the hillside just below Juniper.
2. Bypass tucked just to the south of Valleyview.
3. Overpasses per Tony’s description
4. Underpasses similar to the the underpass by Barnhartvale
5. Do nothing
All options have advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, benefits and the disruptions during the build out. I like Pierre’s suggestion of getting the rigs to use the services past the ends of town. But even doing that, with all the development in Juniper and east, the traffic is building fast. In 5 years we could rename the area Kelowna North, we will all be in gridlock.
Alas, the likely option chosen will be number 5. Do Nothing
You touch the silt bluffs over my dead body. Jack Stumple with the MOH tried that 25 years ago and got trampled . This is a unique and rare and valuable eco system . Don’t even think of damaging it.
Not that I am advocating for further encroachment but the silt bluffs have been partially damaged already, Tony. A large garbage disposal site is in the area and a large network of mountain bike trails (many built/sanctioned by the City of Kamloops) goes from the Peterson creek gorge to Barnhartvale.
Yes some damage has occurred in the past but the city is slowly cleaning up the Owl Road dump. there is still a lot of work to do. I started ” The Ranch ” bike park in an attempt to stop or limit the wholesale destruction being done to the bluffs by bikers . I think it has been at least partly successful in keeping bike activity to an assigned area that was already destroyed by the old Valleyview dump.
Most of the truckers that stop along ETCH frontage road do so to spend the night at motels and get off the road for their driving break. none the less I believe a widening of the north side parking lane should be widened . At night the rear of trailers are unlit and are almost invisible and flat decks are right at windshield height . Mel you know there is an answer . I showed it to council while you were Mayor. .I even got a headline in the newspaper for it. It’s still valid albeit expensive..
As I recall, your idea was to build a second level above the existing highway?
The main idea was to construct overpasses on the highway that would go over the cross streets.thus eliminating stop lights and allowing the frontage road to become a feeder road to the city. Again no stop signs on the frontage road but the stop sign would be on the cross streets. I would be happy to show you and bill the plans and the artists conceptual drawing. Each cross street could be treated in this manner seperatly and completed as single projects.
All that danger, confusion and delays for what? The “right” to ingest junk food? The two truck stops at either end of town should be reconfigured, expanded, embellished and be the mandatory stops for all the large commercial vehicles. The “reason” people need to take over not traffic engineers.