Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Thoughts regarding Safety Speed and Noise issues from OPSRRA meeting November, 2017

[Editor: This initiative could start in the spring, 2018. More details and contact information will be posted later.]

Submitted by Neil Harvey and Carol Li

Carol and I are new to the Sooke/Otter Point area. We love this place. We were happy to attend the recent meeting and share thoughts and concerns with our new neighbours.

After a year here, we have some observations which appear to be shared by the OPSRRA community—most of whom have been here far longer than us.

Our proposal:

1. We form a group of residents who watch the road (Road Watch 14), similar to a Neighbourhood Watch program, to collect information on vehicular traffic to forward to the RCMP, Ministry, etc. who can decide if they want to develop new policies, run their own measurements or other.

We can measure:

  • Vehicle type (logging, gravel, motorcycle, camper etc…)
  • Vehicle speed (phone app called Speed Gun)
  • Vehicle volume
  • Time, day and direction
  • Noise level (phone app called Sound Meter)
  • Video for identification purposes (especially commercial)
  • We put up signs indicating that noise and speed bylaws are in effect and measured.

2. We form a plan to present the message to newspapers, websites, commercial trucking companies, motorcycle clubs and tourism BC websites.

A couple of questions first:

1. Are there enough people in this community who are concerned enough about these issues, and who have the energy needed to pursue possible solutions to these problems?
Is there a clear statement of the issues and a strong list of possible solutions?

2. Do we have the required connections to the right people who can make the solutions possible?

Two of the issues:

1. The posted speed limit of 80km starting at the east end of Gordon’s Beach and running out to Port Renfrew.
Speed limit changes are evaluated by the Ministry of Highways using various data including: traffic volume, traffic type; road geometrics; crash data; local development; shoulder condition; and pedestrian activity.
Roads are typically given a speed limit based on what is called a design limit. This takes into account factors such as road width, number and degree of horizontal curves and some others. I am not sure if BC uses an ‘Expert Knowledge-Based Speed Limit Setting System’ but perhaps we need to request one. I am getting this information from the following 2003 government document:

The problems with this stretch of road and speed limits:

  • It is narrow—especially when the size and width of vehicles is taken into consideration (e.g. logging and gravel trucks);
  • It has little or no shoulder;
  • It has many medium to sharp horizontal curves and many elevation changes;
  • It has seen significant increases in both commercial and private vehicle volumes;
  • Housing development has increased significantly along this corridor and looks to continue doing so;
  • Statistics show many accidents along this stretch of road;
  • No street lights at Otter Point Road and Kemp Lake Road intersections.

The proposal coming out of the OPSRRA meeting in November is to lower the speed limit along all or parts of this stretch of road. How much lower and in which sections remains for a provincial review to determine. What we need to do is find out how much local and regional support there is for this proposal. 

2. The second issue is noise along this same stretch of road. The CRD has a Noise Suppression Bylaw #3378.

Here is the general statement: 
No person shall make, cause to be made, or continue to make any noise or sound in the Electoral Area which creates a noise that disturbs or tends to disturb the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighbourhood or of persons at or near the source of such noise or sound. 

Applying this bylaw requires that data collection and then notifying the appropriate authorities so they might do something about it.
This seems quite straightforward.

The question is: how much local and regional support there is for the application of this bylaw. The proposal coming out of the OPSRRA meeting was to find a way to monitor and record noise levels at certain points along the road. There is no mention in the bylaw of a specific noise threshold which might trigger the application of the bylaw so this would have to be developed.

Other safety issues along West Coast Road:

  • Street lighting at Kemp Lake Road and Otter Point Road intersections would improve visibility and safety.
  • Cars parking along the road with limited pull-off room.

Thanks for your time.

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