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Traffic Issues Piling Up

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

Vehicular traffic on the Bench has been increasing steadily in recent years. Our own study conducted over the summer showed an increase of more than 20 percent since the last available survey completed in 2017, despite the reduction of all forms of traffic as a result of COVID. Commensurate with this increase in traffic there has been an increase in the noise that the traffic generates and the potential for more traffic accidents and disruptions.

The CH Development will likely add as many as 668 [1] additional vehicles to the daily traffic along Naramata Road without taking into account further development North of the Spiller Road Property. If the access road to the development intersects Naramata road as initially planned and indicated in the map below, the additional vehicles are certain to create significant traffic congestion and result in accidents even if traffic lights or roundabouts are placed at the intersection.

This access road would have to be constructed using numerous switchbacks to accommodate the steep gradient from the development and would intersect Naramata road between Evans Avenue to the north and the aptly named "Accident Corner" to the south. It is frightening to think what would happen in the event of a wildfire at or above the development or the city landfill. There would inevitably be a scramble to get out. Think also of the road being covered in snow and ice during winter. Nothing less than a SUV and four wheel drive could make it.

The second access to the development via Reservoir Road is already a dangerous road full of blind corners, steep curves with numerous trucks and other vehicles using it to get to the City landfill. Without expensive upgrades this could not be a viable alternative, and hardly likely to attract potential homeowners if they had to regularly pass by the unsightly dump.

Upgrading Naramata Road to handle increased traffic is virtually impossible due to the expense and disruption it would cause over long periods of time. In addition, property owners on either side of the road would almost certainly be opposed to the idea which would likely require some of their land and homes to be given up.

Neither of these alternatives would permit walkers, cyclists or even scooters from accessing the development so owning a car and probably an SUV would be essential for all residents.

Finally, we should remember the principles of the OCP which contemplates a hierarchy of six levels of priority for transportation planning. The highest level of priority is assigned to the least mobile options (walking, wheelchairs and mobility scooters) while the lowest priority is assigned to single occupant vehicles which will likely be the only means of accessing the development.

[1] In 2009 the Government of Canada published the “Canadian Vehicle Summary Report” which indicated the average number of of cars per household was 1.43. "Households" include apartments and other types of dwellings occupied by lower income families which skew this average downwards compared to the types of single family dwellings that are proposed for Spiller road. In addition, the remoteness of the development and the lack of lack of public transport options will likely increase this average to at least the 2 vehicles per household that we have used in our analysis.


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