A few changes to the layout of the painted lines near Dutch Lake and on Steegs Hill in Clearwater have some frustrated and others scratching their heads.
Work was done by the District of Clearwater to improve safety and accommodate a variety of user types both at the lake and Clearwater Village Road into the Strawberry Flats community.
At Dutch Lake, there are pedestrians, cyclists and drivers all meeting at the same place to enjoy some time at the beach. Tie into that the amount of traffic flowing through to access the rest of the community and it becomes a very busy area, said John Thomas, chief administrative officer for the DOC.
“Having all of those user groups accommodated in the same place is what spurred the part of the project to create pathways, part of the project to create parking and to make sure traffic is accommodated as well,” he said.
The solution, said Thomas, was to meet all user needs using minimum standards. The lanes at Dutch Lake were quite wide, meaning vehicles had a lot of space flow freely, but made it tough for pedestrians who were unloading for the beach. The added space created by the new lines provides a buffer between pedestrians and vehicles and added safety measures in addition to the lowered speed. But the added space did bring to light additional problems, mainly a lack of space for wider vehicles.
“In hindsight, we recognize that the minimum width may not be the ideal way to go,” he said. “We’re going back to the drawing board right now.”
He added there’s potential to expand the road on the other side to widen the lanes and make other changes.
The painting job took two days to complete, and many residents were shocked to see the new improvements, especially after little communication about what was happening or why. Thomas said that’s where the District dropped the ball and having better communicated the project with townspeople and providing signage in the area may have lessened some of the shock.
“We definitely recognize that signage needs to be accommodated, a proper communication piece to the community needs to be shared so that the community understands what the vision was, what the project was, what the end result is and whether or not we actually achieved that,” said Thomas.
The good thing, he added, is the painted lines can easily be changed. Therefore, between now and the next council meeting on Aug. 16, District staff will look at other options to bring before mayor and council so they can debate it and can choose whether to move in a different direction.
“Line painting actually happened throughout the whole community,” said Thomas. “For us to get to a point where we may have to consider one specific area, I think that’s by and large a success.”
The project was designed by the District and it was part of the trails project, improving the line painting from the intersection at Highway 5 and Clearwater Village Road to 37 E (the intersection at the RCMP detachment). The line painting was also part of the District’s Trails Master Plan to connect all of Clearwater’s distinct “nodes” together, connecting the east and west end with trails.
District of Clearwater council meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. All regular meetings are recorded and posted to the District’s YouTube channel.