City CEO Darrell Garceau and resident Carl Reiner share information during the  Highway 97

City CEO Darrell Garceau and resident Carl Reiner share information during the Highway 97

Proposed Johnson Street route continues to raise concerns

Public input from a forum held Monday evening will help city council choose an option next month for proposed highway improvements.

Public input from a forum held Monday evening will help city council choose an option next month for proposed highway improvements.

“We were pleased to have such a good turnout, and to have the opportunity to have residents’ thoughtful questions answered,” Mayor Kerry Cook said in a press release Thursday.

“Council will receive a report incorporating the discussions from the forum, and will choose an option at a council meeting in November,” Cook said.

Residents living in and around Johnson Street and McKinnon Road continue to voice opposition about the proposed intersection option on Highway 97 that would direct traffic from a signalled intersection at Toop Road, down McKinnon Road to access Carson, and also Johnson Street.

At the public meeting, many local residents shared concerns.

Pene Fait told staff she has lived on Johnson Street three doors down from the corner of Johnson Street and Western Avenue since 1974.

“I’ve seen many traffic changes and many different vehicles driving up and down the hill summer and winter,” Fait said.

Sometimes it’s difficult to go up or down, depending on the weather, she said.

“You have not addressed any changes with growth and development of the hospital,” Fait said. “Parking for the hospital is half way up Johnson Street already.”

Johnson Street is also very narrow and drivers have to pull over to let another vehicle pass sometimes, she added.

Fait told MOT project manager Lisa Miller, there are many conversations that Johnson Street residents have not been part of.

“Because you have all the pieces and we have none, we come to the table with many more questions than answers,” Fait said.

Sheldon Meyers has lived on Johnson Street for 30 years and said whether the stats show it or not, Johnson Street is already an arterial route from the downtown core to the residential areas.

“We talk about safety and looking 25 years in the future,” Meyers said. “Johnson Street and Western has one of the worst intersections in the city.”

He has witnessed on average three near-misses every year, he added.

“Johnson Street has several breaks in slope, just as you crest Johnson and Western there is quite a massive change in slope that hides kids, hides animals, Meyers said.

With the reconfiguration of schools, Meyers said he has seen a remarkable increase in foot traffic along Western and at the intersection of Johnson and Western.

“I would encourage you to build the intersection at Johnson and Western into your safety matrix,” Meyers told MOT and city staff.

The PowerPoint presentation made at the forum is available to download from the Ministry of Transportation’s project page at http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cariboo_connector/Carson-Fox/index.htm.

Those who wish to comment on the project can do so by contacting Project manager Lisa Miller in writing at LisaAnn.Miller@gov.bc.ca, or to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, 447 Columbia Street, Kamloops, BC, V2C 2T3. Comments can also be sent to City Engineering Technologist Jeff Bernardy at 250-392-1767, jbernardy@williamslake.ca, or in writing to 450 Mart Street, Williams Lake, BC, V2G 1N3.