No lefts turns at intersection

I have occasion to approach the intersection of Old Vernon Road and Highway 97 a few times per year.

I am a road course-trained, skilled driver, with more than 50 years of experience, but I still dislike making the left turn there to go south on Highway 97.

Cars, often speeding at 120 kilometres per hour or more from both directions, make this a risky move, especially for young or inexperienced drivers.

There was a similar intersection in West Kelowna, at Highway 97 and Bering Road, until it was remediated a few years back. There were left turns permitted in both directions off Bering onto the highway. Traffic there, on the highway, is regulated by traffic lights at Butt Road and Gellatley Road, a block away in each direction. The speed limit (by posted signs) drops from 80 kilometres per hour to 50 kilometres per hour but still, many crashes occurred.

This significant difference (50 kilometres per hour at Bering Road to the "speeders" 120 kilometres per hour at Old Vernon Road) makes for a dramatic increase in the danger factor at Old Vernon Road.

Bering Road went from left turns being OK to no left turns, enforced by continuing the highway concrete median through the intersection.

A similar no left turn status was engineered about one kilometre away at Highway 97 and Elk Road for the same reason—repeated left-turn crashes caused by unskilled drivers making turns or inattentive drivers driving through.

I hate to say we should shut down any intersections but as long as there are so many unskilled, newer or inattentive cell phone-using drivers out there, and the ever-increasing Okanagan traffic, it seems like a case for the lowest common denominator and the left turn access at Old Vernon Road needs to be changed to no left turns in my opinion.

Alan Sanderson

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