Temporary four-way stop to be installed at intersection where child was struck last year

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A temporary four-way stop will be installed at the intersection where a child was hit by a car last year in Parksville. 

The stop sign’s effects on the intersection at Despard and Moilliet will be monitored by staff for six months and reported back to council. Coun. Adam Fras’ motion was passed 5 – 2 at the April 7 meeting. 

“Recognizing the time it will take to come up with a permanent solution and that since then we’ve already met with the school board, I’d like to see this as an interim measure,” said Fras. Council deferred the issue to the fall at a meeting earlier this year.

Coun. Doug O’Brien said he could not support the motion because it went against the recommendations made by Joe Doxey, the city’s acting director of engineering, as well as a traffic consultant the city hired. 

“The four-way traffic stop would be a detriment to that corner because it could actually cause further accidents because it backs out onto the Alberni Highway 4A, which is super busy and super fast,” said O’Brien. He said he was concerned about fast-moving traffic turning onto Despard Avenue and then having to slow down quickly for the four-way stop at Moilliet Street. 

“Put that with the increased traffic and parents dropping off their kids in the morning and afternoon — it’s going to be a lot of traffic coming in,” said O’Brien, noting increased traffic flow from the new Quality Foods close by. 

The city’s chief administrative officer, Keeva Kehler, said the four-way stop was not recommended from a technical engineering perspective. 

“We also had the same concerns expressed from the RCMP about road rage, where if somebody is stopped too often, they tend to see some concerns,” she said. 

Coun. Fras pointed out traffic was already being stopped by school crossing guards several times per day. He said there is a lot for drivers to take in at the intersection and a stop sign will give people a chance to observe what is going on.

“It’s a terrible line of sight when you’re approaching that intersection, it’s completely misaligned,” said Fras. “There’s not time enough for drivers to safely engage. It almost seems like sometimes you’re just closing your eyes and hoping for the best as you go through there.”

Kehler said both the RCMP and city staff have been monitoring the intersection’s traffic levels for the past few weeks. She suggested council could look at the issue again next month when more data is available.

Fras’ motion to install the temporary four-way stop sign was passed with O’Brien and Coun. Marilyn Wilson opposed.

*This article was updated to reflect that council will look at options for a permanent solution in the fall, not next month. 

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