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Bollard use under the scope as CRD embarks on $53M trail widening project

Saanich calls rigid posts dangerous, View Royal calls to keep them for safety’s sake
The CRD will review the use of solid bollards on regional trails as part of major widening and lightening project. (Courtesy of Google Streetview)

The Capital Regional District aims to answer the question of rigid bollards – friend or foe for regional trail users – during its widening and lighting project.

Two letters in front of the CRD Transportation Committee on Feb. 21 illustrate the question succinctly.

On one hand, View Royal mayor and council pleaded the CRD to keep rigid bollards on regional trails. On the other, a letter from Saanich begs the regional group to remove them.

Both cite safety as the top concern.

From a CRD perspective, the rigid bollards have two functions, to prevent unauthorized vehicle access and to provide a visual indication for trail users that they are approaching an active intersection, according to a staff report written in response to the letters.

RELATED: Saanich asks CRD to pull bollards that cause cyclists ‘horrific’ injuries

The subject also spurred a passionate response from the community, said director Jeremy Caradonna.

“I’ve always thought of bollards as our friends,” the city of Victoria councillor said. “There are some very harrowing stories I read in the last couple days.”

After reading dozens of stories of people who broke legs and bones, he’s now determined they pose a danger.

“Why are they hitting them so hard they’re having these serious accidents?” director Scott Goodmanson countered later in the meeting. “They’re placed in the spots where we’re saying to users ‘slow down (and) focus’.”

The Langford mayor also voiced concern over not hearing from other users.

Caradonna later noted Victoria has moved away from bollards in areas where other infrastructure creates similar safety features.

“I understand it’s about weighing risk,” he said, noting there may be opportunities to veer away from bollard use.

While regional parks officials haven’t done any studies on bollard use – rigid or flexible – it is one of the things they plan to look at during the trestle upgrades, trail widening and lighting project.

READ ALSO: Shared bike, parking lanes could soon be history in Oak Bay

Without a study, and no plethora of tales of vehicles venturing dangerously onto infrastructure such as trestles or putting trail users at risk – staff did have a recent car story. A couple weeks ago a driver inadvertently got on the Goose near Spectrum school. In that case, staff said the vehicle got through school district land at Spectrum.

In its letter, Saanich council specifically asked that the CRD review use of steadfast posts during its trestle and trail widening and lighting project. That plan was confirmed by a committee directive during the Feb. 21 meeting.

The regional district will also work with the Regional Transportation Working Group to look at continued use of rigid bollards in a bid to ensure a consistent approach across the active transportation network.

CRD staff said the results will be reported back to the committee but not likely this year.

RELATED: CRD rolls out expedited, $53M regional trail widening timeline

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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