Accident numbers for vehicles and pedestrians should hopefully drop a little this year thanks to safety upgrades partly paid for by the Insurance Corporation of B.C.
ICBC spent $87,000 on 17 projects in Nanaimo and on Gabriola Island in 2013 to improve crosswalks, sign visibility, pedestrian crossings and sidewalks.
The upgrades were made in partnership with the municipalities to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and are part of the corporation’s long-standing road improvement program, which has spent $120 million for road upgrades and safety studies across the province since 1990.
Local safety upgrades included installation of pedestrian countdown timers at the Nanaimo Parkway/Island Highway interchange, the Terminal Avenue/Townsite Road and Departure Bay/Norwell Drive intersections.
Curb extensions were installed at the Wallace and Bastion streets intersection, Departure Bay at Uplands Drive, Jenkins Road at Everett Road and at the McGirr and Dover roads intersection.
New sidewalks were installed at Rock City Elementary School and Woodlands Secondary School, between Lawlor Road and Tenth Street and between Applecross Road and Uplands Drive.
A bus stop and crosswalk were upgraded at Nanaimo District Senior Secondary School. A crosswalk was improved at Departure Bay and Argyle Roads. A paved bike path was created along the Island Highway between Maki and Chase River roads and an advance left turn signal was installed at Wallace Street and Comox Road. Traffic signs were upgraded at various locations across Nanaimo and a lane and road shoulder was widened to give better access for cyclists and pedestrians at Taylor and McConvey roads on Gabriola Island.
Evaluation of the road improvement program indicates that, over a two year period, every dollar spent by ICBC results in a five-fold return in lower claims costs.
“Everyone benefits from road improvements – from drivers to pedestrians – because safer roads mean fewer crashes, which also translates into lower claim costs,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety.