Highway 19 and Ware Road in Lantzville. (News Bulletin file)

Ministry willing to work with Lantzville on highway concerns

Province will consider electronic travel signs, RCMP Island District won’t add enforcement

Electronic travel time signs could eventually be installed along the Nanoose and Lantzville sections of Highway 19, but increased police presence might have to wait.

According to a letter available on the district’s website, B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation will explore “the opportunity” to install digital overhead signs along the Island Highway north of Nanaimo. The province will also conduct a traffic review of the Nanoose-Lantzville corridor of Highway 19 sometime in 2020-21 and has pledged to work closely with highway maintenance contractors to better provide detour information to municipalities, the letter notes.

The Nanoose-Lantzville corridor is a 12-kilometre stretch from the Highway 19A interchange in Parksville to the Lantzville Road intersection. No detour routes are available south of Northwest Bay Road in Nanoose Bay.

For months, Lantzville councillors have publicly expressed concerns about Highway 19 following a series of accidents and have called on the province to investigate electronic travel time signs and safety improvements. Councillors also passed a motion calling on the RCMP to increase enforcement levels along their 8.5-kilometre stretch of the highway.

In a recent letter to the District of Lantzville, RCMP Island District Traffic Services Insp. Tim Walton wrote that based on data, there are no plans to increase enforcement along Lantzville’s portion of the highway.

“We will continue our planned enforcement activities at our current levels…” he wrote. “There have been no fatal crashes reported in the last two years while there have been six fatal highway crashes in other parts of the central Island patrol area this year, notably on Highway 4.”

RELATED: Lantzville wants province to consider installing electronic signs on Island Highway

RELATED: Lantzville expresses concerns about safety along Island Highway

RELATED: Province willing to talk with Lantzville about traffic management for Island Highway

Lantzville’s stretch of Highway 19 is patrolled by two provincially funded B.C. RCMP traffic units, Walton said. The Integrated Road Safety Unit is a five-member unit that conducts enforcement activities on provincial highways and on municipal roads, while Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services is a Parksville-based enforcement and investigative unit that handles criminal and fatal crash investigations on Highway 19 and Highway 4. The six-member unit’s patrol area extends from Lantzville to Bowser and Parksville to Tofino.

The two traffic units spend more than one-quarter of their “enforcement time” in “high-crash corridors and intersections” and one such corridor is Highway 19 from Ware Road to Parksville, according to Walton.

“Our data has shown this approach to be effective in reducing the number of fatalities,” he wrote, adding, “The two traffic services units have together issued almost 500 violation tickets and about 100 notice and orders for equipment violations in [Lantzville] in the first nine months of this year.”

Walton also wrote that traffic enforcement levels are “influenced” by the highway’s design and that there are some areas where it is “ impractical and unsafe to intercept vehicles.”

While the news may come as a disappointment for some in Lantzville, the province is currently exploring the use of technologies including intersection safety cameras in unsafe or impractical areas for enforcement, according to Walton.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP media spokesperson, previously told the News Bulletin that officers will “certainly” continue to conduct targeted enforcement along Lantzville’s stretch of Highway 19.

Speaking to the News Bulletin, Lantzville Coun. Karen Proctor said she was pleased with the Island District RCMP’s response because it showed that officers are patrolling the highway despite what some people might think.

“I was really happy to hear that the RCMP are enforcing heavily in Lantzville, especially if they’ve given out 500 tickets to date,” she said.

When it came to the province’s response, Proctor said she was pleased to see that it is open to the idea of electronic travel signs. She said council hasn’t made any concrete decisions about what to do next but believes the best course of action is to wait for the traffic study to be completed before making any further requests.

“We can’t ask for overpasses or flyovers right now,” she said, adding “I’m really anxious to see the traffic review and to work with council to develop our next step.”

Coun. Ian Savage said Lantzville’s stretch of Highway 19 should be viewed as a “commuter road” instead of an expressway or highway. He said lowering the speed limits through Lantzville would be a good solution to improve safety and reduce accidents.

“Only slower speeds will help prevent serious accidents,” he said.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Lantzville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDN budget includes unexpected $1.5 million for sewer pipe replacement

Pipe corrosion at Departure Bay discovered in December

Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 20

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo loses longtime soccer supporter

Leo Beier had an impact on hundreds of athletes during a decades-long devotion to soccer

‘Stretched’ art show returns to Gabriola Island

Artists challenged to create works on six-by-36-inch long canvases

Snuneymuxw flag once again flying atop Nanaimo City Hall

Ceremony held Thursday to return flag after it was taken down in 2017

Snuneymuxw flag once again flying atop Nanaimo City Hall

Ceremony held Thursday to return flag after it was taken down in 2017

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Malware infiltration slows production at Island pulp mills

Infestation affecting Crofton, Alberni, Powell River Paper Excellence operations

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Most Read