Editorial: Safer travels

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Salt Spring Island became an easier place to navigate overnight last week, and ongoing work is paving the way for an even safer reality for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

The lack of diligence when it comes to road line painting has been a pet peeve of many islanders and the subject of more than one cranky Driftwood editorial in the past several years. Until now, Salt Spring has seemed to be at the bottom of the list for getting its road lines rejuvenated, ensuring islanders are pretty much driving blind during dark and rainy evenings. Numerous folks have declared they will not drive at night due to the absence of visible road markings.

Improvements to pathways on Rainbow and Lower Ganges roads are also moving along quickly, with tangible progress visible each day. Funds for what is called the North Ganges Transportation Plan Phase 2 project were authorized by a Capital Regional District taxpayer referendum in November of 2014 and improvements were championed by the volunteer Salt Spring Island Transportation Commission of the CRD. It took much longer than expected for work to begin, and will cost more than anticipated back in 2014, but the CRD reports the project is now on time and on budget.

It’s also exciting to see work on the off-road trail from Central to Baker Road proceeding.

More could be done when it comes to road safety on Salt Spring, however, with many side roads needing both serious maintenance work and refurbished lines. (Line painting is contracted to a separate company by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and not the maintenance contractor, Emcon Services Inc.)     

Still, kudos should go out to everyone involved in getting the major route line painting done, the NGTP project rolling ahead at full speed and improving road maintenance in general. The consensus seems to be that Emcon has so far done a better job with road maintenance than its predecessor, and its willingness to provide information of interest to the public is also much appreciated.

Of course, the brightest road markings and most delineated pathways won’t prevent accidents if bad driving practices persist. That’s fodder for a whole other editorial.

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