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FORSETH – Plan for traffic light at Highland Road defies common sense

A MAJOR PROJECT by the City of Kamloops on Highland Road between Valleyview arena and the highway, is now well underway.

This project includes the installation of new water and sewer mains, installation of a new sidewalk from the highway to Valleyview Drive, along with repaving at the bottom of Highland up to the arena as well as on Flamingo Road – it’s all much needed work.

One so-called improvement, however, just doesn’t make sense and that’s the plan to install traffic signals at the intersection of Highland and Valleyview Drive.

While I’m no technical engineer when it comes to road design, as a 30-year resident of Juniper Ridge, I think I have a fairly good grasp of how well that intersection currently works – and it works just fine, thank you very much.

Despite that, the City of Kamloops traffic/ engineering department has decided this intersection is in desperate need of a traffic light.

According to an individual in the know (let’s call them Bill), the decision dates back several years and is just now on the radar of city staff; it was made based on traffic templates, and the number of vehicles.

Interesting thing though – logic played no role in the decision – because operational decisions are made based on the expertise of City traffic engineers.

Because I had a few observations and concerns about the decision to install the traffic light, at ‘Bill’s’ suggestion, I called the traffic/ engineering department at the City of Kamloops to personally ask about how and why it was made.

The first is that I am not aware of anyone that has ‘asked’ to have this change made, and there was definitely NO attempt made to ask residents in the area if this was something they thought was necessary.

Traffic already moves smoothly through this intersection with the current 4-way stop. I use that intersection at a variety of times during the day, and there is really never any big hold-up to get through; the exception of course being right now with the amount of traffic being diverted to Valleyview Drive due to the closure of Highland between the highway and Flamingo Road.

I got the same response as ‘Bill’ did. They’ve done traffic counts, studied safety issues, looked at similar situations in other cities, and used their ‘expertise’ as traffic engineers to make the determination.

There is a bigger concern which I also raised; a safety issue which I guaranteed will come up this winter. Come winter snowfalls, and before city snowplows are able to get to Highland, many drivers have carefully used the four-way stop as a ‘Yield’, and slowly roll through the intersection so as to maintain traction to get up the hill. With the coming installation of a traffic light, however, that will no longer be possible.

Worse though, is traffic coming down the hill. The intersection of Highland and Valleyview is often times extremely slick and that causes some vehicles, unable to stop, to slide right into the intersection. I have not only seen this happen to others, who were driving cautiously, it has happened to me as well.

I honestly did not get any kind of response as to this foreseeable situation other than they were using their expertise.  AGAIN … no logic was factored into the decision.

There was one additional nugget of information that I got from the individual I spoke with at the City traffic/ engineering department – that’s regarding the extension of a permanent roadway in Juniper Ridge, through to Rose Hill Road. This apparently is supposed to be some kind of solution to the ‘problem’ of Highland being the only exit from Juniper.

I pointed out that Rose Hill Road, being extremely narrow and winding, can barely maintain the traffic that currently uses it, which would therefore require substantial work to make it safe for the additional drivers – all of which I’m sure would require millions of dollars.

The individual I spoke with indicated that sourcing funding was being explored as it would indeed need a major upgrade.

I guess, for me, there is one takeaway from this situation and that’s …

LOGIC BE DAMNED, that traffic light is going in anyway regardless of it’s need, or safety issues that will come about because of its installation.

Not to worry, though. Apparently, once the light is in, City traffic engineers will monitor the situation. To what end I have no idea, as once the deed is done there’s no going back, without the added expenses of what would likely be a LOT of money.

There is one solution, however.

Use logic, AND common sense.

Don’t install the traffic light.

Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident. For 40 years he has been active, in a number of capacities, in local, provincial and federal politics, including running as a candidate for the BC Reform Party in the 1996 provincial election. He recently was involved in the BC Liberal leadership campaign.

About Mel Rothenburger (9122 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on FORSETH – Plan for traffic light at Highland Road defies common sense

  1. jennie stadnichuk // September 3, 2022 at 12:34 AM // Reply

    Alan you are 100% in your observations! I have lived in Valleyview for 49 years and use this route during various times of the day. It causes no problems: City Traffic Engineers need too find a real problem to spend taxpayer dollars on! i.e., as Bill says potholes make driving very hazardous esp. when you have a small economic vehicle! And, it’s Sept. which means only 3-4 months until winter and more pot holes!

  2. The current 4 way stop is excellent for if there’s no traffic, it’s just stop, look and go. I’m sure there are more serious situations crying for attention, but… Meanwhile it would be very nice if the pot-hole repair crew could get beyond their beginner stage and be proud of their craft, our streets are TERRIBLE.

  3. Bang on Alan, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and the current situation is far from broke

  4. Somehow I knew you’d be the first to respond — and in the negative. Do you actually live in this area, and have to use the intersection on a regular basis, especially within the first 1/2 hour of a snowfall?

    • No I am not “negative” I am a “realist”. But so you know I use every major intersection in the south side of the river very regularly. And not only in a vehicle but as a commuter cyclist also.

  5. Colleen England // September 2, 2022 at 11:31 AM // Reply

    Perhaps traffic circle would be a good compromise.

  6. Oh boy, this one is seriously laughable. I will not argue about the merits or the “talents” working at the City. But I will argue there are very many busy intersections currently controlled by traffic lights scattered throughout the hilly side of Kamloops. They work very well in managing traffic. Sure enough the City could use more “sapients” and “logic” with their snow removal protocols. However they cannot always make up for the incessant impatience and un-preparedness of many Kamloops drivers. So on this one, by a large margin, I will side with the City and encourage you to seriously think about your definition of “logic”.

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