Morning commuters traveling Ash Road through Gordon Head this week were greeted by ambassadors from the Fix Ash Road Now group.
Waving cheerfully and holding signs that read “Thanks for slowing down,” a number of FARN volunteers shared the duty of reminding drivers to be cautious when approaching both sides of the Torquay Drive intersection. Torquay’s crosswalk is the site of the Dec. 20 incident when a black Mercedes SUV struck 11-year-old Leila Bui, causing life-altering neural brain damage. The volunteers campaigned to ‘staff’ the Torquay crosswalk during the morning commute from 8 to 9 a.m. each morning this week, Monday to Friday.
Most drivers slowed down and returned the gesture, either with a wave or a thumbs up, said Jo-Anne Chambers.
“A lot of parents taking their kids to school are thankful and supportive,” Chambers said.
The volunteers are there to assist youth using the Ash Road crosswalk in transit to nearby Torquay and Hillcrest elementary schools, if needed. It’s the latest effort by the group, as some members started the roadside campaigning in the spring.
The road is known as a bypass for drivers cutting through from East and West Saanich, and the Peninsula, through to the University of Victoria and area.
Though its marked as 50 km/h, Ash Road continues to have challenging sight lines and FARN would like to see the speed limit reduced to 40 km/h. FARN is also hoping for an upgrade to the round light beacons at the crosswalk to brighter LED flat style beacons, the installation of a limited visibility sign on Ash near Tremblay Drive for westbound traffic and a third-party road safety audit to assess other potential traffic calming measures for the entirety of Ash, which runs from Mount Douglas to Tyndall Avenue (another intersection in need of upgrades, says FARN’s Gerry Tearoe).
“Most people wave and slow down,” Chambers said. “We did have a driver [Monday], he just about hit someone in the crosswalk, he had to slam on his brakes, and then he proceeded to give us a hard time because we were distracting him. If this is a big distraction buddy, you need to slow down.”
On Tuesday the same driver came through a bit slower and without any interaction, Rishi Sharma said.