Some Canoe residents are not happy with the new four-way stop installed at the intersection of 50th Street and 70th Avenue NE, citing concerns about difficulties navigating the nearby hill when it’s icy. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Some Canoe residents are not happy with the new four-way stop installed at the intersection of 50th Street and 70th Avenue NE, citing concerns about difficulties navigating the nearby hill when it’s icy. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

‘Ill-conceived idea’: New four-way stop in Canoe gets the red light from residents

Resident brings petition to council with concerns about navigating hill during icy conditions

A recent message to Salmon Arm Council from a Canoe resident was simple. The four-way stop at 50th Street and 70th Avenue NE has to go.

Canoe resident Stig Keskinen brought his impassioned plea, along with a 150-plus-signature petition, to council’s Nov. 22 meeting,

He said residents would like to go back to the original two stop signs on 70th “that have sufficed since I can remember.”

The steep hill is the issue with a four-way stop, he emphasized, particularly during icy conditions.

Keskinen said many of the names on his petition are longtime Canoe residents.

“They have many years’ experience in dealing with the steep hill and slippery conditions. My family has lived at their present address for over 50 years… Everyone I have spoke with has the same concern.”

That concern is, how are drivers going to stop once the hill is covered in ice. Also, when they start up the hill from a stop, he said their tires will be spinning, further increasing the slickness of the road.

“Removing the stop sign at the bottom of the hill gives drivers a chance to change their mind about turning right or left if the hill is too icy and can then choose to continue straight through the intersection and go around the block.”

He said he can imagine rush hour in Canoe, when school is coming out. What if someone coming down the hill is going a little too fast for road conditions and can’t stop in time? he asked. They could plough into a vehicle or the bus stop or children on the sidewalk.

Keskinen said from his experience there are times when drivers don’t attempt to make the turn as they’ll end up in the front yard of the corner house.

“I have waited at the crest of the hill if I am behind somebody who may be tempted to turn at the bottom of the hill so as not to rear-end them. I am not sure of the grade of the hill but it must be at least 10 per cent.”

Phyllis Britton also addressed council, suggesting a speed bump be installed to slow down drivers on the downhill side of 50th near the church where the road is flat.

Added Keskinen: “This four-way stop was an ill-conceived idea. Coun. Wallace Richmond said it was recommended by a city traffic safety committee. I have never witnessed an accident in this area nor have I heard of one. I have also never heard of a child being struck by a vehicle in this location. I wonder who put this before the city in the first place and what the rationale for it was in the first place.”

Read more: Dangerous drivers prompt request from Canoe residents to Salmon Arm council

Read more: Four-way stop likely coming to problematic North Canoe intersection

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, explained that the traffic safety committee is made up of a member of the Ministry of Transportation, School District 83, the RCMP, a provincial traffic engineer for ICBC and city staff.

“As Coun. Wallace Richmond indicated, over the years we have had numerous complaints of speed on 50th, and we also had the survey and the information provided by the Canoe Traffic Calming Working Group… A number of community members from Canoe got together, again expressing concerns about the speeds by the school and along 50th.”

Niewenhuizen said the group’s survey of residents and letter to the city was reviewed by the city’s traffic safety committee. It recommended the four-way.

“One of the reasons was that there’s already a crosswalk at 50th and 70th, so people do have to stop for people crossing the street there, so there really isn’t a big concern with a four-way stop there,” Niewenhuizen said.

A four-way stop was not among the recommendations that came from the Canoe Traffic Calming Working Group’s survey of residents.

Niewenhuizen said when recommendations from the city’s traffic safety committee are included in its meeting minutes, council must vote on whether to accept them. Council approved the minutes, so the work on the four-way stop proceeded.

Wallace Richmond said she was glad to provide the Canoe residents with information on how the decision was made.

Keskinen reiterated his plea to return to the two-way stop – before the first snowfall.

He said a couple of speed bumps on 50th, with one near the school would be a better idea.

“Like I’ve said before, I’ve gone around the block so I have some momentum to make the hill. Without that momentum, it’s just going to be chaos.”

Mayor Alan Harrison suggested that Keskinen write a letter with some of the ideas he’s had, and council can forward it to the traffic safety committee. The committee will come back to council with a recommendation whether to take action.

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