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Vancouver Island’s Top 10 crash sites

August 14, 2020

 

In 2019, 101 collisions were recorded at the McKenzie and Highway 1 overpass project, making it the Island’s top crash site. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST
Photograph By DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

It is difficult to explain the reason for some intersections on Vancouver Island making the top 10 most dangerous crash list for 2019.

The 101 crashes at the almost completed McKenzie and Highway 1 project is somewhat predictable, but still a little odd. One would think the increased scrutiny throughout the construction phase would be cause for pause. The sheer volume of traffic of all types must have something to do with it.

The McKenzie-Highway 17 (Pat Bay Highway) merge area is No. 2 on the list, with 68 crashes. There are some not so obvious differences in this seemingly simple configuration. It is really a double merge and therefore not just a single lateral move that drivers must negotiate when heading west and entering from McKenzie.

The third highest number of crashes are at the Boleskine and Douglas intersection. This location has been a perennial top 10 contender. It is really the Highway 1 corridor with 62 crashes, but is rather seen to be a city street, as opposed to a provincial responsibility. Left-turn cheaters and a far-lane timing move might be the cause of so many incidents at a very standard type of intersection.
Sixty-one crashes were recorded at the five-headed monster, better known as the Hillside-Douglas-Gorge intersection. This is also a perennial placer in the not-where-you-want-to-be category. Let us all hope this returns to a giant traffic circle, asap, as in days long since gone by.

At least everyone would be going the same direction, eliminating the requirement for a left turn and the potential dreaded head-on collision.

Millstream and the Trans-Canada highway takes a tie for fourth (61) as a relative newcomer to the yearly tally. Westshore makes the big time, in a not-so-envious way. This is partly because of the amazing development as of late. It is possibly the fastest-growing place in Canada. The outsiders looking for a big-box fix can probably be blamed for the entry into the top 10 bumper-car type of collisions.

The sixth most common crash site is a mystery to me. After moving the bus stop at the Pat Bay Highway and Sayward Road, it was believed all was well in hand. The crash rate was significantly reduced, and we all thought this location would never again darken these pages. Well, it only took a few years and here we go again. The crash incidences at this location not only defy logic, but also make a mockery of the large capital expense thought to have solved the problem. Blame it on ferry traffic! Maybe visitors! Who knows?

No. 7 is a golf shot from No. 3. Blanshard and Saanich is an odd member of the top 10. It is a one-way location of Highway 17. One-way street locations are generally safer places. This one stumps me, unless it is once again the fault of the left-turn cheaters turning from Saanich.

Nos. 8 and 9 are in Nanaimo, namely the Island Highway at Bowen and at Mostar. Of all the disappointing locations to make the list, these two are the most difficult to understand.
They are on the same bypass road. Left-turn lunacy? Non-synchronized traffic lights? This is a total mystery to me. I am stumped. How about you? Wide open and lots of room! I never have any problems at these intersections.

No. 10 is a newcomer. Wale Road and the Island Highway is a non-right-angle intersection. What is it doing on the list? It just does not belong. Any thoughts?

Last week’s column about Richardson assumed the first iteration of a shared lane was the preferred option. This was incorrect. A non-through street barrier option was chosen instead, matched with two opposite flow lanes. Thanks to readers for pointing it out.

Steve Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former vice-president of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered B.C. teacher and a University of Manitoba graduate.

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