Summer crowds have returned to Salt Spring, with a stark reminder of how dangerous it is to get through Ganges when it’s full of people who don’t know where they’re going.
Whether on foot, a bike or in a vehicle, trying to get through town in the middle of the day — and not just on Saturdays — requires the eyes of a hawk, lightning quick reflexes and a huge vat of patience.
It truly is a miracle that more collisions between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists don’t occur in the core area of Ganges.
That’s why the concept behind island resident David Courtney’s latest transportation-related campaign has merit. He and others want to see the speed limit through Ganges reduced from the current 50 to 30 km/hr, for obvious reasons. Courtney cites a DriveBC study from 2015 that found pedestrian crash survivability rises from 20 per cent at 50 km/hr to 90 per cent at 30 km/hr. Courtney has pressed our newly elected Local Community Commission members to lobby for the change, as well as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming when he visited Salt Spring on June 2.
Salt Spring’s past transportation commission also campaigned for a reduced speed limit in Ganges, and a 300-person petition was organized a few years ago for the change to be made. But as often is the case, nothing happened as a result. Also a few years ago, the Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a motion asking for municipalities to be allowed to set 30 km/hr as the blanket residential speed limit, rather than 50. (And we know that 30 will ultimately mean 40 km/hr and 50 in the evening, but that’s still a vast improvement from what exists now.)
Courtney first put himself in the public eye locally when he initiated a petition to have two ships put on the Vesuvius-Crofton ferry route in 2021 — something that wasn’t going to happen with the snap of a ferry-manager’s finger and which was already in longer-term plans — but his activities did raise awareness of the inherent problems on that route.
Local Green party MLA Adam Olsen is at the ASK Salt Spring session this Friday, July 7 at 11 a.m. at the Salt Spring Island Multi Space. Hopefully he can help clarify what else Courtney, the LCC and other community members can do to improve safety for all people in Ganges with a lower speed limit.