New crosswalk across Henry Road from the Mount Brenton Golf Course is now in use for golfers. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Awareness required in the initial stages of new signalized crosswalk

Drivers looking at more stops and starts while golfers stick to one crossing point

The signalized crosswalk across Henry Road between the Mount Brenton Golf Course and the golf course parking lot is now in operation.

It will require an adjustment for both drivers and golfers. Drivers going both directions on Henry Road will need to be prepared to stop if the flashing lights are activated and golfers will have to confine crossings to that one point in the road instead of adjacent to their cars in the lot.

There is still some work being done on abutments to narrow the section of road where two lanes starts heading out of town to one lane until beyond the crosswalk.

“They are still putting the finishing touches on it, but it is up and operating,” confirmed Art Kendall, a member of the Mount Brenton Golf Course board of directors and past president.

The Municipality of North Cowichan finally decided to act upon the safety concerns expressed by the golf course executive for years and Kendall conceded it’s actually a miracle there hasn’t been an accident there before. It should be pointed out the crosswalk will also be a spot to connect walkers, runners and cyclists with the Cowichan Valley Trail.

“The studies the engineers did indicated that this was the most dangerous crossing point in terms of numbers of both pedestrians and vehicles in Chemainus, perhaps the entire Municipality,” noted current president Chris Fritsch. “They were actually amazed at the sheer numbers of vehicles in a 24-hour period and heavy trucks and semis. No surprise to us, I might add.”

Kendall estimated there’s easily 500 to 600 crossings a day of golfers alone, with 250 to 300 people making the trek from the lot to the course and back.

“It’s really good it’s there,” he said of the crosswalk. “I hope all our members get used to using it and all our residents can be patient with it.”

The Municipality managed to work the cost into the budget for the existing Chemainus Road project.

Related story: A $60,000 crosswalk approved for Henry Road

It’ll be a whole different mindset for motorists to make their way through Chemainus Road with the corridor upgrade and the lower part of Henry Road. There are other new crosswalks being installed on Chemainus Road plus at the River Road roundabout.

“It is possible now on a busy Friday afternoon a person might wind up stopping 3-4 times on that section from the theatre to the golf course,” Kendall noted.

The golf course crosswalk comes up suddenly for motorists heading out of town after exiting the Henry Road roundabout and those coming into town down the Henry Road hill need to be on the brakes sooner.

“It’s a difficult spot to manage traffic because the roundabout is so close and it has crosswalks in it,” added Kendall. “You have several crosswalks in close proximity.”

The bottom line is everybody doing their part and keeping their patience in check will improve the safety and eliminate the need for golfers to run across the road to beat traffic.

Kendall said two letters have gone out to the membership stressing golfers not to jaywalk and use the crosswalk as the sole connection point between the parking lot and the golf course.

“It’s wonderful we have a safe crossing for our aging membership and it’s an awareness for the community,” he emphasized.

Ladysmith Chronicle