I moved to Otter Point in February and have noticed, while driving in the area, RCMP vehicles stopped on West Coast Road just twice: once during the summer when BC Hydro crews were doing work in Shirley and Wednesday, November 8, 2017, when a tree came down around the 7800-block area.
I believe it is the absence of RCMP presence, which contributes to the excessive speeding and noise and resulting dangerous driving conditions. I would like to suggest that you consider a few optimal times (from my observations) for your staff to “stake out” the busiest travel times.
In order of seriousness:
1. Sundays from about 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM are the worst for motorcycles (often without mufflers) on the Pacific-Marine Loop ride heading north-west, as pointed out at the meeting by the man who is building a house at Gordon’s Beach.
Their speeds and noise seem to be the most excessive of any category of vehicle. West Coast Road feels more like a private speedway for the motorcycles during these times. However, the safety implications are significant with the increased numbers of tourists, who often are not the least bit familiar with driving on our winding roads.
Perhaps this might not be the busiest time for your staff to respond to more pressing drug, alcohol, or altercation-related incidents so it could work out well to assign them every other week or so.
2. Outside of the summer, Monday mornings are the next worst period for noise and speeding from 6:00 AM—often earlier—until about 8:30 AM. This is when the logging and gravel trucks are heading south-east, trying to rush their loads in early. This pattern is a major safety concern for school traffic, seniors, and commuters.
3. Sunday afternoons and evenings, approximately 3:3 to- 6: 30 PM, are very heavy travel times going south-east, particularly late spring/summer, with both speeding and aggressive driving being especially problematic. Many motorcycles (mentioned above) are returning from completing the “loop”.
4. The Friday evening traffic 4:00 to 7:00 PM, (heading north-west), both in the summer and off-season is the next worst, with people speeding to get to accommodations for the weekend, rushing home after a long week, or logging/gravel trucks hurrying back after emptying their loads.
I suspect that item four might be difficult for your staff planning, as Friday nights are notorious for all sorts of law-enforcement problems—you’d know better than I, no doubt. However, the three others might be easier to-plan intermittent roadside “stakeouts”.
My questions are:
1. When do you anticipate being able to start enforcing the speed limits out here? I realize that your detachment has been under-staffed, but perhaps you can phase in some of the above now, rather than waiting for the tourist season next year.
2. Is photo radar a possibility for West Coast Road? I realize that the Malahat is different in its configuration, but this might be useful, given your staffing constraints. This, of course, in more of a medium-term issue but one which could help.
3. Is there anything else the public can do to help you? I wasn’t clear from the meeting if there are ways we can help out. I’m sure many of us in the area would try to assist you as much as we can.