An increase in the number of vehicles parking along both sides of Western Avenue near Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake is causing congestion issues.
“We have a number of people parking on the road, we have safety concerns and snow removal concerns,” chief administrative officer Darrell Garceau said during a recent city council meeting.
In a report to city council senior bylaw officer Grant Martin said in September TRU instituted pay parking for students using the campus, which has resulted in an over abundance of students choosing not to pay for parking and parking mostly on Western Avenue on both sides of the street.
“This has led to severe traffic congestion and safety issues as visibility has been reduced significantly which has led to motor vehicle incidents occurring,” Martin said. “We have also received complaints from school bus drivers who find it difficult to navigate through this area as well as our fire department who advise responding with their larger pieces of apparatus would be very problematic because of all these vehicles parked on the road leaving such a narrow access.”
Dr. Ray Sanders, executive director, Community U and Williams Lake Campus at TRU said staff is working with the city to ensure its students, staff and citizens are safe.
“A solution will be announced in the near future,” Sanders said.
Some of the city’s suggestions for council to consider include no parking signs being installed from Blair to Midnight for the entire area on the TRU side of Western Avenue.
“This would address the current safety issues for vehicles pulling out of TRU onto Western as no vehicles would be parked on that side of the street allowing greater visibility,” Martin noted.
Other suggestions include “resident only” signs installed for the six residences across from TRU. Residents would be given tags to be left on their dash to allow only those vehicles to park in this area, he added.
Another suggestion is to allow street parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the corner of Comer Park extending towards the Columneetza campus on the park side of the street.
This would allow some on-street parking, roughly 30 spots for students during the day.
The city is also suggesting the approach to Lake City Secondary School Columneetza campus would be restricted to only 15-minute stopping to allow parents to pick up/drop off their children at the school.
This area would extend to opposite the fourth residence in from Latin Street.
“To ensure school buses the room to turn into the Columneetza school bus pickup area we would extend the ‘No Stopping’ area past Latin Street to in front of these first four residences on Western from Latin,” Martin’s report added.
Additionally, the remaining area in front of the residences on Western continuing to Blair would be made as “Residential Parking” only. While Blair Avenue on the lower end towards Western would be made “No Parking” on both sides of the street. One side is already “No Parking.”
Martin said Blair Avenue is very narrow and with vehicles parked on either side school buses can barely get by.
Staff is also suggesting that Latin and Beauchamp would be made as “Residential Parking Only” zones.
Aside from Western there are concerns about 11th Avenue so staff is recommending “No Parking” signs be installed on the high side of 11th Avenue from Pigeon Avenue to Smedley.
“This would allow parking only on the sidewalk side of the street and will ensure a proper flow of traffic will be maintained in this area at all times,” Martin said similar problems on 12th Avenue North have been addressed by installing no parking signs.
Staff will be engaging the public for feedback and making a follow-up report on parking and snow removal to council at a future council meeting.