Gerry Tearoe, Jo-Anne Chambers and Rishi Sharma of the Fix Ash Road Now group stand on the corner of Ash and Torquay where Leila Bui was hit on Dec. 20. The group wants a four-way stop at Ash and to slow traffic on Ash Road to 40 km/h. Travis Paterson/News Staff

Group calls Ash Road a Saanich bypass and a “free for all”

Fix Ash Road Now group seeks four-way stop where 11-year-old was struck by vehicle

A newly assembled Fix Ash Road Now wants to bring a four-way stop sign to an intersection that has been the site of numerous serious collisions.

FARN is aiming to fix the intersection where 11-year-old Leila Bui was hit by a vehicle on the morning of Dec. 20 when crossing Ash on her way to school.

The group of concerned citizens that make up FARN is separate from the Gordon Head Residents’ Association though Rishi Sharma, a director on the GHRA board and co-director on transportation issues, is in both.

GHRA, for their part, had contacted Saanich regarding safety along Ash and its Torquay intersection even before Bui was hit. The community association is in talks with Saanich and Saanich Police about starting a Speed Watch program. But that’s volunteer-led, puts community residents in harm’s way and would otherwise be unnecessary with FARN’s proposed changes, Sharma said.

Saanich Engineering is also in the midst of upgrading the intersection, adding a series of improvements with flashing beacons at the pedestrian crosswalk, an additional streetlight in the northeast quadrant, temporary speed reader boards at various locations along Ash Road (by Saanich Police), a stop bar on the southbound approach, brush removal in the northwest quadrant, and installation of “crosswalk ahead” warning signs on the Ash Road approaches to the intersection. Not all have been installed yet.

RELATED: Leila Bui, hit by car on Dec. 20, faces ‘long road ahead’

“We’d like to see four-way stop signs here at [Ash and Torquay] and a 40 km/h limit along Ash Road from Majestic to Tyndall,” Sharma said.

FARN also wants speed reader displays similar to the digital happy-face displays that slow traffic along the City of Victoria’s Southgate and Bay streets.

“There’s a [very effective] speed reader in Saanich that slows drivers entering the McKenzie interchange along the [Trans Canada Highway]. Why can’t we get one of those?” said Gerry Tearoe.

Sharma said FARN is in the process of setting up a petition as they believe there is a latent belief among locals that Ash Road has become a bypass to Saanich’s main arteries.

“It’s become a collector road,” said Jo-Anne Chambers. “There’s been a noticeable increase in traffic through here in recent years.”

All three of Sharma, Tearoe and Chambers know people who were involved in motor vehicle accidents on Ash Road in the last two years, including Sharma’s parents.

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