City will try to slow down traffic in front of dance studio

Committee of the whole motions for City of Nanaimo staff to look at traffic calming on Boxwood Road

City councillors want to take action to make sure that youths can safely get to and from their dance classes.

Nanaimo city councillors, at a committee of the whole meeting Monday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, motioned to request that staff look into traffic-calming options on Boxwood Road near Vibe Dance Studios.

Coun. Ian Thorpe’s motion, which passed unanimously, came following a presentation from Steve Johnston, a concerned parent.

“I almost saw a five-year-old get hit on Boxwood … and I’ve seen this over and over and over again and I know that a lot of the parents have seen this over and over and over again,” he said.

He said Vibe has about 500 students aged five to 20.

Serra Stewart, owner of Vibe, said she’s made improvements to the back parking lot at her studio, but parents continue to stop across the street to drop off and pick up their kids before and after classes.

“I have a report that indicates that traffic speed along that street is normal. Well, I guess if that’s normal, then we have a problem, then we need to address what’s normal,” said Coun. Bill Bestwick. “And it is a shortcut and it is heavily used and it will only get heavier usage, not lesser. So I think we have to do something.”

Coun. Bill Yoachim said “it’s paramount” that the city makes that stretch of Boxwood safer.

“Cars rip and roar up and down that road and it’s absolutely insane…” he said. “If we don’t do something, shame on us.”

Bestwick suggested a pair of speed humps and Yoachim mentioned a speed limit reduction or even a roundabout. Coun. Gord Fuller wondered if a planned bike lane on the west side of Boxwood Road could be moved to the east side so that people wouldn’t be able to park on that side of the street for drop-offs. Mayor Bill McKay said a well-lighted crosswalk might be a solution, but said the city needs to make sure that whatever measures are taken are going to be effective.

“The intent of the motion is for staff to come back with ideas and options and rationales and I think we’re getting into that type of debate now tonight when we don’t really need to,” said Thorpe. “Let’s hear what staff has to recommend and why and if we don’t like it or have other ideas at the time, we can debate further.”

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