Last year around this time I wrote a letter to the editor with respect to three wishes regarding safety upgrades and maintenance to our local highways.
One wish was for a crosswalk between Skaha Lake Park and the campground with the green fence on South Main Street. That came to fruition a few months later. Thanks to the City of Penticton for addressing that issue and making that area much safer for everyone.
The other two wishes have yet to come to pass; both were the responsibility of the Ministry of Highways. One was for the “right turn only” arrows to be painted so they are visible on Highway 97 between Westminister Avenue and Riverside Drive. I continue to see close calls there on a regular basis, because people are illegally utilizing that lane as a merge onto the highway.
Last, but by no means least, was a suggestion for a set of lights where Highway 97 and Highway 3A intersect. According to a recent news report, the ministry said it had no plans to install traffic lights anytime soon, despite there being 22 crashes at that intersection between 2011 and 2014, some resulting in fatalities. How many people must die before something is done to rectify this situation? Truckers who are familiar with the Okanagan area must cringe every time they have to make that left turn onto Highway 97 north.
One of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Highways is to ensure safety. Please live up to that responsibility. If there is another fatality at that intersection, then people high up in the Ministry must be held accountable, especially when the ministry says, “it is aware of the concerns regarding that particular intersection”
To the ministry I say when you have the power to prevent preventable accidents, you should take action as soon as possible. It’s the moral thing to do.