Letter: Our traffic system is broken

Kelowna letter-writer says we need more roundabouts, walk paths and cycle lanes

To the editor:

I agree that traffic congestion on Highway 97 and delays at traffic lights are issues (Need a roundabout, Capital News, Nov. 17), number two on the latest resident survey.

In my opinion, our transportation system is broken and in need of a complete system retrofit. And change indeed takes time. Yes, since 1980 Highway 97 remains the only main highway through Kelowna. But (as Einstein said), we can’t use the same thinking that caused our problem to solve them. Do you really want Kelowna to be known as a place of multiple high-speed ugly highways? More highways would destroy that, and our tourism economy. So then, how to address our traffic congestion if not more highways?

Remember, traffic delays you typically experience occur at intersections, not driving between them. So let’s focus on improving our intersections. And, let’s focus on improving our travel choices. Getting folks to walk, bike, bus even once per week would help so we don’t have as many cars on the road (I commute 14 kms from the Mission to UBCO but still manage to bike/bus at least 3 to 4 days a week); so I support more investments in higher quality transit and walking and biking networks.

Next, let’s remember that driving is so unsafe, and is a leading cause of death in North America; so let’s improve the safety of the system. After reducing the number of cars on the road through improved alternatives, the most cost effective way to both improve safety and reduce delay at intersections is roundabouts. Roundabouts save lives and money Look at the local, national, and international benefits of roundabouts; they more than pay themselves off within a few years of construction in terms of reduced delays and improved safety.

I’m fed up with delays too. Instead, let’s start taking out existing signals and replace them with roundabouts. This is how we fix our system, making it safer and decreasing congestion and delays. We don’t need more roads, we need more roundabouts. And buses, and cycle tracks, and walking paths, and parks, and fitbits. We’ll get there.

Gord Lovegrove, Kelowna

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