District of Squamish (DOS) officials last week deployed traffic counters near a Brackendale intersection that was the scene of a motor-vehicle collision that left one person dead and another seriously injured.
The cause of the Nov. 1 crash, which resulted in the death of Squamish resident Tanya Lee Boudewyn and saw the other driver taken to Vancouver in critical condition, is still under investigation. Greig Garland, DOS director of capital projects, on Friday (Nov. 8) said the counters were put in place partly in response to community concerns about the safety of the intersection of Government and Depot roads.
The results of the police investigation and the data collected from the counters will be used to guide decision-making about potential traffic-pattern changes at the intersection, Garland said.
Statistics released recently by ICBC shows that between 2007 and 2011, there were six motor vehicle incidents of varying severity at or near the Government-Depot intersection, Garland said. That compares to an average of 15 to 20 at other busy, non-highway intersections, he said.
While the Nov. 1 crash was tragic, “in the scheme of Squamish as a whole, it [Government and Depot] hasn’t really come up as a priority intersection,” Garland said.
DOS officials, though, have never collected data on the number of vehicles, speed and direction of travel at Government and Depot and want to get a better idea of what’s happening there to inform future decision-making, Garland said.
At the moment, drivers have to wait at stop signs on Depot Road while Government is a through street. A few people have voiced a desire to see a four-way stop erected there. Garland, though, said traffic engineers usually only recommend a four-way stop when the amount of traffic on the two routes is similar, when the sightlines are an issue for drivers sitting at the intersection and/or when collision frequency is also a concern.
“I think the spirit of this is, in more ways than one, ‘Hey, how can we help?’” Garland said. “We have this technology, we can use it to find out what’s happening — this is the number, speed and the direction of travel — and I think that adds value in that context.
“Would we have done this if there hadn’t been an incident? I think sometimes an event draws your attention to something that we may be able to help with.”
The traffic counters were to remain in place for about five days. Once that data is compiled and the results of the crash investigation are complete, the information and a set of recommendations will be presented to council, Garland said.