Your points about the need for more pedestrian-friendly roads in Duncan are well taken, and we have come fairly close to achieving that ideal in Chemainus. However there is something the Mural Town has that the City of Totems ‘n Traffic doesn’t have, and must someday acquire if it wants to achieve any kind of pedestrian-vehicle nirvana.
That would be a highway bypass, ring-road, or viaduct to take most of the heavy intercity traffic out of the downtown core and off the commercial strip, both of which are heavily populated by seniors. Even those European cities you so admire have bypasses or ring-roads that preserve the urban core areas for pedestrians, and for local traffic that is in no hurry to get from A to B.
Your long standing editorial opposition to a Duncan bypass is well known, but the truth is you can’t have it both ways. Either you get the high volume intercity traffic out of the urban core to make more room for local traffic and pedestrians, or you have traffic chaos. Nearly every other community in the Cowichan Valley and across the rest of Canada knows this because we all had our downtowns bypassed by the Trans-Canada Highway decades ago.
In Chemainus, if not everywhere else, we have mostly enjoyed vehicle-pedestrian peace ever since.
Unfortunately, due to some poor planning, Mill Bay and Ladysmith are getting to be a bit like Duncan now. However, the rest of us in the Valley hardly need pedestrian lights in our downtowns at all.
If you think adding a few more seconds to the stoplights in Duncan will only add a few more seconds to travel times for intercity traffic, then I think our local experts in complex large-scale circulation patterns need to prove it to the rest of us.
It isn’t usually that simple. Traffic engineering is far more complicated than most of us can ever know.