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Letter: Park the panic when it comes to Sooke Road! — 82 Comments

  1. Well somebody is good with math. I’ve been rear ended 3 times on sooke highway, In 3.5 years that I’ve lived in Sooke. iCBC paid over 30k in damages for my car and tons more in wage losses . I’m one person .. we need a road that can handle 16k people Simple math. People = roads
    Better roads = less crashes
    Money spent = get it done
    I shouldn’t have to feel I may die every time I get on that road .. 2 people have in a short period

  2. Derek Lewers Very well written, bud! I actually agree with all your logical points here. Including the political-motives stuff….people are easily swayed by likeable leaders who know what the people wanna hear…

    And thanks Britt Santowski for printing this, people gotta ‘widen’ their lenses a bit!

  3. Why would we not want to make our roads safer, regardless if the stats are not as bad as they may appear?

    Our goals should be reducing the amount of crashes, injuries and inconveniences to a small town with one way in and one way out.

    Let’s move forward in Sooke.

    • There have been similar arguments about drivers who think they have a right to turn left crossing a double solid line to get into their driveways. They complain that while they are backing up traffic on a high-way other drivers pass them on the right shoulder and create dangerous situations. BOTH actions are illegal! RCMP need to ticket dangerous acts and publish why they are illegal! We never see RCMP controlling traffic. The schools on Sooke Rd. in the mornings are a disaster of dangerous actions. Can’t wait to see what a Tim Hortons by the school is going to do.

  4. One of the biggest things I notice driving Sooke road is the number of people that drive far too close to the car in front, and do not take road conditions or weather into consideration.
    Occasionally it is someone who drives like a bully, trying to hurry up the car in front and driving an unsafe distance behind. If there is a slippery spot or a deer that steps into the road, or if traffic has suddenly slowed down, they are just far too close to stop in time.

    • But saying that is exactly the same as saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

      The road was and is currently safe by standards, so yes, in theory the road is safe as you noted.

      However, with an increase of drivers down the road, due to an increase in population, there are many other factors at play here. An aging population, more younger drivers, etc.

      Inherently, there will naturally be more incidents, that is a given, safe road or unsafe road.

      However, This road was not designed for the amount of traffic it currently sees now.

      With an increase in traffic comes an increase in poor drivers, exactly as you noted. Tthere is little we can do to improve poor drivers.

      Elderly drivers have slower reaction times, and windy roads and increased traffic can impact their ability to safely navigate this old road which may contribute to an increase in accidents.

      Poor lines and lighting. As I age (43) I am also seeing a decrease in my eyesight and my natural reflexes that I once had. These roads don’t seem to be as safe as they used to be. LOL

      More young drivers, impatient drivers as traffic increases.

      It is ALL of these variable that we can help reduce by straightening the roads, better lighting and lines and allowing more freely flow of traffic.

      So you’re right, road aren’t the problem, the drivers are. But the drivers are having a hard time navigating this specific road due to many variables that now exist BEFORE this road was built.

      This road would likely not be built the way it is if it was just being built today for those exact reasons.

    • Paul Pudwell Should that prevent us from trying to obtain the Provincal funding to make adjustments to Hwy. 14? I don’t think so.

      Everything takes time and the 10m announcement is a start, albeit a slow start. The solution is to push for fixes.

      Paul, you have a successful business in Sooke. Road improvement would only help get more people out here, safely.

      I’m not here to speculate how often you might drive into Landford or Victoria, but many, many people do the drive twice a day, 5 days a week. I suspect you don’t drive that road everyday.

      To add to my variables above, please also consider how mentally exhausting doing that commute is, which also affects safety.

      And no, the answer is not, if you don’t want to move out here, don’t live out here. It’s not that simple. With economics and house pricing, Sooke is sometimes the only option for house ownership.

    • Exactly Paul….EXACTLY..!!
      The citidiots that have moved out here…that’s the “main” problem. Also the damn street lines that are painted with near “invisible” paint because they CUT CORNERS TO SAVE MONEY, MORONS..!!!

  5. I have rode it by car and motorcycle. I have never had a problem. Many years ago, my parents lent me there 1971 Pontiac Catalina. That thing wallowed in the corners on Sooke road.

  6. Great reading those stats! Thank you! I don’t recall seeing anything about what season most of the crashes occur. Do they have that data available? If it’s winter and they are occurring during the commute then it can be in the dark – even if it’s considered daytime.
    I do think the road is fine and it’s the drivers. It’s not just the inexperienced either – it’s the aggressive as well. That’s why I worry that widening it will just make people go faster.
    My biggest issue is the lighting – paint and oncoming lights. I don’t understand why toxic oil paint is an issue on toxic oil roads being driven on by toxic oil cars!? And I feel there should be a standard on what kind of headlights people can have on their vehicles. If not – then install a median with a picket barrier that blocks oncoming lights. I’ve seen them in Washington state and they’re awesome! Might help with head-on collisions too.

    • “The road is fine…” that sentence just irks me. Of course the road is fine. The road sits there and does nothing. If you drove it alone, with no other traffic with or against you, at 50km an hour, you’d likely never get into an accident.

      It’s the same old analogy you’re using. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

      That’s a given! The road IS fine. It’s just not suitable for todays standards and it has increased the likelihood of incidents.

  7. Regardless of what the statistics say, if some aggressive driver hit and kills me that’s the number that matters.
    Several things, bad drivers including the ones in the huge logging trucks etc.
    Those super bright lights that seem to be on high beam all the time. Someone please give these guys a ticket!
    Crossing over the centre and side lines going around curves. I’ve seen oncoming traffic 2 feet over the centre lines. This also wears out the painted lines making it dangerous for everyone.
    When there is a road hazard, put on your 4 way flashers. Thats what they are there for. And if you see someone with their flashers on don’t just pass them on the inside anyway.
    With 10 million dollars we should just hire more traffic RCMP and stop the bad habits!
    This is an election year, that is what the publicity is all about.

  8. It’s really a shame that this writer has taken what was supposed to be a statistical analysis and introduced his own anecdotal bias with statements about how long he has been driving the road, and statements about how very few accidents occur in the dark of night. These are not based on any actual information, and are particularly irrelevant. Traffic is of course enormously busier during rush hour (daylight) hours. While the actual quantity of accidents at night may not be that high, how high is the ratio of accidents per vehicle trip?

    And I can’t get on board with the whole comparison to Douglas street. You’re comparing a 6-lane (3 in each direction) section of well-lit city street with a winding highway through the dark woods. Additionally, you forego mentioning anything to do with injuries in those stats, referring to only “total accidents”. How many of those are light fender benders during lane changes, with no injury at all. How many people have *died* in that stretch of Douglas street in the same period?

    This is really just yet another spin, and an ironically contradictory one at that.

    • Couldn’t agree more. This article is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in a while.
      Of course someone who drives it all the time, and has for 30 years, would think that his opinion matters. How disrespectful to everyone who has family members lost on this road.
      I just drove this road in the rain and in the dark for the first time in years, and I was terrified at every turn. It’s like driving blindfolded in some sections.

    • The Lewers, both Mr & Mrs are experts on every subject that has to do with Sooke. They appear at every council meeting and are opposed to every motion put forward. Yet neither have ever tried to run for council.

      • I fail to see the point of personal attacks. If you have a legit debate point on my opinion piece, please share, but personal attacks do not help anyone.
        I will clarify your points though.
        I am NOT an expert in anything, but I am a critical thinker, and one who doesn’t take information at face value, especially from government, and will do my most to get ALL the information before offering an opinion.
        Mrs. Lewers you refer to, is my mother, and not my wife, so just to clarify that.
        Mrs. Lewers has run for council in the past, so that was wrong information.
        I do NOT go to every council meeting, and definitely are not opposed to everything, and the suggestion of such is extremely misinformed.
        I did go to council meetings every week for 3 years from 2011-2014 however, and I actually worked on behalf of mayor and council on some special projects (volunteer) during that time. I also served as a volunteer firefighter for 13 years of my life in this town, so I think that I have done my fair share of giving back, and I think its fair to say, that I have a pretty good understanding of local politics after all that time.
        Hopefully this addresses the misinformation you had.
        Cheers
        Derek

  9. This is a fabulous post. Detailed, fact based, and based on both research and personal experience. If more social media posts were like this one, the world would be a better place.

  10. As I see it , most of the accidents are driver errors or medical conditions, or mother nature, not once did the road changed since you moved out here, so you as the driver are responsible , end of rant

  11. Adhere to the maximum speed limit, don’t tailgate, and drive like the other guy isn’t wearing any pants (sage advice from my husband’s father in 1950 when my husband learned to drive. Things haven’t changed, except today people let themselves get distracted.

  12. Well written Derek good read and totally agree leave fire trucks in the hall till there needed pull the cars to the side if it’s not. Major and get traffic moving and bring back the good paint lines

  13. Derek nice job. I really do think that some improvement are possible and a some additional road connections would allow for more detours when needed.

  14. This is a good piece he has written and he makes his point well. The one thing that is different about his comparison to Douglas Street is that if Douglas street had a serious accident on it, one that would justify a shutdown (how often does that happen) thousands of people are not cut off and it’s relatively easy to get around as there are multiple ways to do so. I also would like to address the people who say it’s the drivers and not the road. So what do we do about it? Define what it means to be a poor driver and somehow find all the people who fit that definition and send them to driving school in the hopes it will help or do we make the road safer for everyone? Or how about a second way into Sooke? Like Lake Cowichan? Growth is going to be inevitable out here and I’d rather be preventative than reactive. Also I’d like to know the same statistics for the Malahat and compare them to Sooke Road seeing as how they have done and are doing some pretty big upgrades to it. One last thing is why all the emergency vehicles going to just about every accident as he states never used to be? There must be a decent reason for this change in policy.

  15. Do you people defending this road like it’s their child who grew up to be a POS, drive it in the dark or in the rain? Do they like being on the road with people who are scared??
    Give your head a shake. It has nothing to do with how great you are at driving the road, it’s the people who aren’t, and who will continue to be terrified of losing control because they can’t see well or because they take a turn too fast.

  16. If you are a safe and confident driver the upgrades will serve to protect YOU from the drivers who are less confident and safe on the road… my mother always told me she didn’t worry about me driving on the roads… she worried about the other people I would encounter. Spending money on roads is a great investment if it saves lives. Not to mention it will keep the road safer and less likely to be shut down due to accidents blocking it.

  17. This article baffles me. I feel like I am trying to be convinced the emperor is wearing clothes. How are we even debating the safety concerns with this stretch of road? And more importantly, who is panicking? A few articles on the news is not panic. People are talking about it. Why is that a problem? Rushing to find stats to prove that other roads are more dangerous is a strange tactic and not helpful. Especially when stats can be so clearly manipulated to suit your own agenda. And using Douglas road as a comparison is absurd. I laughed out loud when I read that. Honestly, any good points in the article were completely obliterated with that nonsense.

    For people who don’t have issues with the road, that’s your prerogative. But many, many people do. And now we are backed by the Premier and have some momentum. That is how change happens and improvements are made. People talking about issues is healthy. And yes, that means allowing all voices to be heard. Yours and ours. We have all lived with this road in its current condition. Let’s try something different and see if it helps reduce collisions and deaths. What have we got to lose? Why be a part of trying to squash that possibility? Change is good people.Sooke is growing, its changing and let’s make some good decisions.

  18. When faced with management decisions I try to consider how I can make it easier for people to succeed than it is to fail. Improvements to Highway 14 is that philosophy in action. If the goal is to reduce accidents and increase accessability to Sooke then it will be far easier to address the road than to address the thousands of its users..

  19. Improving Sooke Road will encourage further development in this area and thereby increase the tax base to support other needed changes like urgent care clinics, library/community centre, upgraded schools etc. Langford is the perfect example of municipal politicians realizing that good things come from modernizing transportation infrastructure. Not certain we can keep Sooke caught in a 60’s time warp by opposing needed road improvements.

  20. Food for thought- when was the last time you saw cops enforcing speed limits, distracted driving, unsafe vehicles or anything else on the sooke highway?

  21. Thanks for breaking that down Derek.Those of us who have lived in Sooke for any length of time know how to drive it during most conditions,usually rainy.Albeit there are some improvements needed ie;cats eyes and upkeep on the painted lines,it’s mainly the nut behind the wheel causing problems.Slow down people,and maybe leave five minutes earlier to get to your destination.

  22. Good point about the Fire Response. This definitely needs a further look. You lost me on the Douglas comparison, I work downtown, most of the crashes are fender benders at best. Your stats don’t include fatalities on the road, which occur on our road each year. I do agree with you, however, I do not feel the road is unsafe. I do, however, appreciate any improvements like lighting and bus pull outs. This region deserves some of our hard earned taxes going into road improvements in our own backyard rather than bridges in the Lower Mainland or the constant money drain of the Malahat. Furthermore, you can’t stop Sooke from growing by defending a road. For the record I don’t want a four lane highway, that is nuts. For the money that would cost it would be cheaper to put in an alternate route. As for the coverage, I believe you have done your part. This is a topic worth discussing.

  23. Don’t know how nudity fits into this, or who these emporers are. I try to follow the money to understand an opinion. Derek ~ does improvement to Hwy 14 affect us in Sooke directly, other than being taxpayers along with the rest of the Province?
    Sooke Road could use some improvements ~ Make sure reflectors and lane stripes are very visible for darkness travel, and increase the speed limit by 10km for all zones. Slow driving dulls our senses.
    Drivers are getting worse as we progress ~ less ability to operate machinery, inattention to the requirements of interacting with other drivers, and there are cell phones.
    Stupid idea to require fire trucks when they are not needed.
    Everywhere else in the world they clear the highway immediately because there is a future. We are so regressed here in BC.
    But I don’t think we should discourage improvements in infrastructure.

  24. Any improvement is gratefully accepted. It may be a long time till this road is in the news for upgrade new paint cat eyes corners cut will improve the night driving with glaring headlights & pouring rain making visibilty next to nothing. Go John Horigan, Ms. Taite and Mr. Young for bringing to attention

  25. Totally agree with this very well written article. I am sure that if we subtracted the stats on accidents caused by speeding, drugs and alcohol, bald tires, cell phone usage, etc etc – we would see that no amout of money spent on Sooke road will significantly reduce crashes.

  26. Great article Derek! I am astounded at the people whose comments do not acknowlege the fact that road accidents occur MORE FREQUENTLY and cause more damage after a road is “improved” (ie ‘faster’). The laws are already in place for speeding, drunk driving, driving while texting or shaving or putting on make-up, eating, etc etc. What is required is a dedicated police officer to ensure the laws are adhered to. The Sooke Road is just fine — just patch up those pot-holes though; otherwise we need a map to avoid them! I speak from experience from commuting on Willis Point Road, which had no fatalities and fewer accidents, until it was “improved” some decades ago. After the so-called improvements we have had frequent accidents and the fatality count is up to about five persons. Speed was the leading cause.