If something isn’t done about a dangerous intersection in Shawnigan Lake village, somebody is going to be killed, warned Bruce Fraser.
"It’s been a mess for months and months," said Fraser, the Cowichan Valley Regional District area director for Shawnigan Lake. "This is a serious public safety issue. It’s sort of like the intersection at Valleyview. We had to kill somebody there going left before we actually did anything about it."
Crosswalks at the Shawnigan Lake Road-Shawnigan Mill Bay Road junction are so worn away they are all but invisible he said. Fraser has been communicating with the Ministry of Transportation about the problem since the summer, he said, but just received excuses about their sign painter.
Then a few weeks ago a woman was nearly run down as she crossed the road with her grandchildren, in what was once a marked crosswalk. That prompted Fraser to write a letter. His message to the Ministry: "For heaven’s sake, do something here. This is simple. It is putting people at serious risk."
On Monday at 10:41 a.m., a 93-year-old man was crossing the street outside of the two crosswalks at the four way stop when he was struck by a vehicle. He is in serious, but not lifethreatening condition, according to Shawnigan Lake RCMP.
That the man was hit outside of the crosswalk areas just illustrates the danger of the intersection, said Fraser.
"There is no remaining evidence on the ground of a ‘designated crosswalk.’ That is the point I have been making these many months," he said. "The paint faded away long ago and has not been renewed."
"It is totally ludicrous to blame the victim when the circumstances are so obviously a result of official neglect and unchecked bad driving behaviour," Fraser said.
Because the road markings are virtually non-existent, he said, drivers tend to treat people in the roadway as jaywalkers who shouldn’t be there, whether they are in the crosswalk or not.
"So a lot of people just blow right through the intersection. They don’t fully stop. They treat the people as being sort of like ‘what are you doing in the middle of my road?’" he said.
It’s a busy intersection, Fraser said.
"Leaving it unpainted for virtually a couple of years is just really quite derelict," he said.
While a paint job is the first step, Fraser would also like to see further traffic control in the form of a crosswalk light, because what’s there right now isn’t cutting it.
"People are paying no attention to the four-way stop signs," he said. "I’ve seen people blast right through that stop sign as though it wasn’t there."
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure confirmed that Minister Todd Stone has received the letter from Fraser.
Stone is reviewing that letter, the Ministry said in an email, and will respond once that review is complete.