'Someone's going to get killed': Residents call for traffic calming on Lakeside Road

Lakeside Rd 'just dangerous'

A routine rezoning for a pair of new homes being constructed on Penticton’s Lakeside Road and has brought long-standing, broader concerns about traffic safety in the corridor back to the surface for the neighbourhood.

Both homes at 4037/4039 Lakeside, which required complicated architectural designs and a bevy of bylaw variances, were approved by council Tuesday. But when combined with a 180-unit apartment building just up the road also approved Tuesday night, city council heard concerns from homeowners about the corridor’s ability to handle increased traffic.

“The corridor is just dangerous, and something is going to happen,” said a Finnerty Road resident at Tuesday's meeting.

Lakeside Road lacks sidewalks and serves as the only cycling route between Penticton and OK Falls, making navigating the winding roadway on foot treacherous as parked cars fill the shoulder. 

The comments don’t come as a surprise to anyone at city hall. 

“It’s a long standing issue, it’s something we heard quite a bit about during the Official Community Plan process,” acting director of development services Ben Johnson told Castanet News Thursday.

“We have seen volumes increase significantly over the years, especially with all the development down in Okanagan Falls,” Johnson continued. “We see a lot of speeding issues, it's a behavioural thing. People just kind of open it up, drive really fast into town not slowing down.”

The City of Penticton will be undertaking a city-wide review of its transportation master plan next year, and was directed by council to pay special attention to the Lakeside Road corridor. 

“We will be looking at how all our roads function, all across the city, and thinking about design integration that can really address some of those behavioural issues,” Johnson said, suggesting traffic circles, road narrowing or rumble strips could all be considered. 

During discussion Tuesday about the nearby apartment complex breaking ground later this year, Mayor John Vassilaki, a Lakeside Road resident, said there have been problems with speeders in the area “for the last 25 years,” explaining he’s been pushing for greater RCMP enforcement of speed limits for decades “with no success.”

Area resident Drew Mitchell told council Tuesday those efforts have simply been “not good enough.”

“Somebody’s going to get killed, and I don’t know if that leaves the city open for some sort of lawsuit, knowing as everybody does right now what has been brought to council around the concerns,” he said.

The city says it will be undertaking large public consultations when it reviews the transportation master plan next year, which will also involve a study of public transit and bike routes. Residents with similar concerns anywhere in the city are invited to get involved.

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