Sunday, June 16, 2024
June 16, 2024

Viewpoint: Ganges Bypass a worthy project

By MIKE STACEY

Running the “Ganges Gauntlet” last Saturday morning I was reminded of David Courtney’s campaign to lower the speed limit in town. At the time, I was unable to reach 30 km/hr, never mind exceed it.

This was caused by the brilliantly choreographed ballet wherein one pedestrian wanders onto a crosswalk, then when he is about half way across, the next one heads out into traffic, followed by another, and another, ad infinitum.

Jaywalkers run interference. Friends often stop in the middle for a hug. Somehow the whole operation is synchronized in such a fashion so as to ensure that all crosswalks are screwed up at once, causing traffic to back up so far that the Vesuvius ferry cannot unload, forcing the crew to take all the cars on board back to Crofton.

At the Rainbow Road stop sign, impatient drivers have been known to sell their car, as is, where is, and walk away. Others have died of starvation or old age.

I also question David’s concern about excessive speed, as he himself has been repeatedly clocked travelling in excess of 500 miles an hour, though admittedly not through town on a Saturday morning. As a retired airline pilot, David is well aware that when a big ugly storm looms ahead and you can’t go through, you must go around. I believe the same applies here.

This brings us to that elusive yellow brick road, that mysterious will o’ the wisp spoken of in hushed tones for decades: the Ganges Bypass. (GASP!) The route laid out millennia ago is to extend Atkins Road off into the bush, connecting with Reid Road off Charlesworth, then continuing to join Fulford-Ganges Road at the top of the hill.

This ain’t gonna happen any time soon, but what if it could be punched through only as far as Charlesworth? This would complete the “two routes.” It would also make life easier when the new fire hall gets built. In a pinch I suppose, for the time being, the road could be built only as far as Drake Road, but this would constitute a half-ass bypass.

I would hereby like to inform David that speed limits are “small potatoes,” unworthy of his considerable energy. I would like to see him studying the bypass issue, then with sharp stick in hand, poke the appropriate bureaucratic bears to get things moving. It would be a long process and get the locals all stirred up — always fun to do!

Success in this endeavour would mean eternal gratitude to David from the local citizens. We may be talking bronze statue here.

The writer has lived and worked on Salt Spring Island for many decades.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. You would like a road built because for 2.5 months a year, on Saturdays, it takes an extra 2 minutes to drive through a section of the island that is less than 1km long? Interesting take.

  2. You must be driving through a different Ganges than I am. Imagine what town would be like in the busy time of year if everyone who didn’t want to be in town was NOT in town. Much more pleasant for everyone involved. Ask any person driving commercial vehicles how dangerous and frustrating the situation is. For years we have talked about the “second route” from one end of the island to the other in case of emergencies, etc. If Ganges hill is blocked off because of an accident, everything stops. The only piece missing is between Seaview and Beddis/Charlesworth. No,I am NOT an impatient driver, not tailgating, not honking my horn or displaying my centre digit. If someone is having trouble getting out into the endless stream of cars, I do what I can to let them get in. It’s been years since I passed another car. Driving truck for the better part of 50 years has taught me what happens to impatient drivers. Saturdays in town used to be like the deadest day in winter now. At that time there were two cases of big trucks losing brakes on the hill, flying through town at high speed and missing everybody and all the cars on the road. One was spared a swim in the ocean by plowing into a large pile of concrete blocks behind Mouat’s. If you go down there, you can still spot the bricks on the bottom of the harbour. The other one went straight down in front of Mouat’s, at which point truck and driver parted company. The truck and its load of gravel continued on into the water. Those things don’t float. It fell just short of the wharf where our water taxis were tied up. If that were to happen now, any day of the week, it would be disastrous. Then we would be screaming “Why were trucks coming down that way?!” It’s not only a matter of difficulty navigating through town, but safety, which would seem to be a major concern right now.

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