Public Information Sessions

Two public events were held in Port Alberni and Parksville.

Port Alberni

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Time: 4 pm to 8 pm
Location: Port Alberni Friendship Centre, Clutesi Hall, 3555 4th Avenue, Port Alberni

Parksville/Qualicum Beach

Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018
Time: 4 pm to 8 pm
Location: Oceanside Place Multi-Purpose Room, 830 West Island Highway, Parksville

 

Download the full PDF version of the poster boards displayed at the open houses or view below.

 

Introduction to the Cathedral Grove pedestrian and traffic safety study.

Example of the board used at open houses where participants could share their thoughts in writing. Participants were answering the question: "Thinking about pedestrian and traffic safety at Cathedral Grove, what do you believe is the most important aspect for us to consider when planning improvements?'

Information board about the pedestrian traffic safety study

Why are we doing this study?

  • Each year roughly 500,000 visitors from around the world come to experience the old growth giants and unparalleled beauty of Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial
  • Most visitors arrive by vehicle, parking along Hwy 4 and crossing the highway to visit both sides of the park.
  • Parking demand often exceeds capacity which leads to unsafe maneuvers, compromising safety for pedestrians and
  • A safety issue has existed for many years and continues to grow as traffic through the park increases.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure aims to build and maintain a safe and reliable multi- modal transportation system for British Columbians.

Where are we going?

The objective of this Study is to make recommendations for pedestrian and traffic safety improvements that could be completed in a short-term time frame.

How can you help?

  • Share your experiences as a visitor to the Park
  • Share your experiences using Highway 4 and traveling through the Park
  • Discuss your views on pedestrian and traffic safety issues and on Park values

Consider potential improvements that could improve safety while protecting important park values

What is the process?

During this first engagement, our focus is on learning about the issues and the area. The input we receive will be used to guide development of pedestrian and traffic safety improvement options. In Spring 2019 we’ll be engaging further on these options.

Information board about understanding park values

Before developing pedestrian and safety improvement options, we’d like to better understand the various aspects that need to be considered. This process will begin with listening and understanding before improvement options are brought forward for consideration.

Learning from the past

This is not the first time that changes in MacMillan Provincial Park have been considered. Looking back at these previous projects we are learning about the ecological and spiritual values of the park and the concerns people have about potential impacts.

For this Study, we would like to undertake a thoughtful and thorough engagement process, in which we listen carefully to opinions, values, and ideas before options are developed.

Our goal is to work with participants to find solutions that address both safety concerns and protection of the park’s inherent values.

Noted values & Concerns

As we compile values to be taken into this process, we can look back at those that have been previously identified, including:

  • Safety of park visitors and road users
  • Opportunities to continue visiting Cathedral Grove
  • Potential effects on an important old growth forest area
  • Potential effects on the Cameron River
  • Potential effects on First Nations values
  • Potential habitat impacts, notably to Roosevelt Elk, a blue-listed species
  • Potential fish habitat impacts
  • Potential impacts to red-listed plant species in the area
  • Windthrow (tree blow-down) issues related to tree removal
  • Concerns about too much use or development in a natural area

Information Board on Current Roadway Conditions

To better understand how people and vehicles interact, the Ministry has analyzed existing roadway conditions, pedestrian movements, parking capacity, and vehicle movements.

Speed Limits

  • Highway 4: 80 km/hr
  • Cathedral Grove: Reduced speed to 50 km/hr with transitional 60 km/hr zones

Parking Areas

  • One primary parking lot
  • Three parking pull-outs
  • Total parking capacity: 50 to 54 vehicles

Highway Shoulders

  • Narrow width under 2.0 m
  • Mature trees in close proximity to shoulder

Information Board on safety improvements to date.

Over the years, several safety improvements have been implemented at Cathedral Grove. These have improved conditions by increasing motorist awareness and slowing vehicles. However, safety concerns still exist.

  • 50 km Speed Limit & Speed Reader Boards advise motorists if they’re within the posted speed limit.
  • Overhead Flashing Pedestrian Sign emphasize the need for extreme caution in the area.
  • “SLOW” Warning Signs remind motorists to mind their speed as they enter the park.
  • No Left Turn  Signs advise motorists they cannot turn left into the parking area.

Information Board on pedestrian movements.

Thousands of people travel through Cathedral Grove daily. Pedestrians on the highway and uncontrolled crossings increase the potential for an accident that could have serious consequences.

On average, during a two-hour period on a summer day 530 pedestrians cross the highway at Cathedral Grove:

  • Most park-goers cross the highway to visit trails on both sides.
  • Pedestrians walk along highway shoulders from parked vehicles to park destinations, at times walking in vehicle travel lanes.
  • Groups of 1 to 20 people cross the highway at a time, often including children, infants in strollers, and the elderly.
  • There is no designated crossing point or time – pedestrians cross when traffic stops or slows, at times waiting several minutes or running to beat vehicles.

Information Board about the parking.

People travel many kilometres to visit Cathedral Grove. Because the park is a destination, people want to complete their visit even if the parking lot is full. This can lead to visitors parking in unsafe ways.

Parking demand often exceeds capacity

The location of the park means most visitors arrive by personal vehicle, with some arriving by tour bus. Parking demand often exceeds capacity at mid-day. Vehicles parked on narrow shoulders affect roadway widths, impacting pedestrian and motorist safety. Vehicles often park in no-parking zones when designated lots are full. Larger vehicles like buses and RVs often double park, impacting sight-lines for pedestrians and drivers.

Typically in summer, the parking areas are over capacity between 10 am to 4 pm. Counts show parking demand often reaches twice the capacity at this time. Below are numbers from parking counts completed in the past three summers.

  • Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 2:30 pm: 85 cars and 5 Recreational Vehicles
  • Friday, August 18, 2017 at 11:30 am: 84 cars, 6 Recreational Vehicles, 1 bus and 3 motorcycles
  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 11:30 am: 111 cars

Information Board about vehicle movements.

Vehicle Movements

Over  10,000 vehicles  pass  through  Cathedral  Grove  on Highway 4 daily. Many stop to visit the park. During site analysis, vehicles at Cathedral Grove were observed using the highway  as a loading zone, conducting U-turns and three-point turns in the travel lanes, reversing into oncoming traffic, and backing up across both highway lanes.

  • Daily volumes are heaviest in mid- day (11 am to 4 pm). Weekly volumes are heaviest Friday afternoon and Saturday mid-day.
  • About 90% of the traffic is passenger vehicles. The remaining 10% are heavy vehicles and recreational vehicles.

Traffic is Increasing

Periodic traffic counts show a steady increase in the number of vehicles passing through Cathedral Grove.

  • In 1987 there were 5,800 vehicles per day.
  • In 2005 there were 9,200 vehicles per day.
  • In 2017 there were 10,900 vehicles per day.

What Types of Improvements could be Considered?

What Types of Improvements could be Considered?

Over the years, a range of ideas have been suggested for improving pedestrian safety, parking capacity, and traffic safety around Cathedral Grove. This Study could look at ideas such as:

  • Improved pedestrian movements
  • Upgrades to existing parking areas
  • Additional parking
  • New trail connections
  • Safe U-turn locations
  • Improved safety along the highway shoulders
  • Improved signage and markings
  • Other ideas?

What issues or concerns do you think need to be addressed if these types of improvements are considered? What other ideas should be considered? Please fill out a questionnaire to share your thoughts.

What’s Next?

For the remainder of 2018 we will continue to receive input and ideas. Please provide your initial input by January 4, 2019.
In Spring 2019, watch for:

  • An input summary posted on the Project website at: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/cathedralgrove
  • Announcements about next steps in the process and opportunities to be involved

Social Media

Follow BC Transportation and Infrastructure on Twitter and Facebook to stay connected
Twitter: BC Transportation @TranBC
Facebook: BC Transportation and Infrastructure @TranBC

How to share your input
Information about MacMillan Provincial Park

MacMillan Provincial Park

Cathedral Grove,  located  in  MacMillan  Provincial  Park,  is  one  of  the  most  accessible  stands  of  giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island. Here visitors can stroll through a network of trails under the shadow of towering ancient Douglas-fir trees, majestic pillars untouched by the modern world – some more than 800 years old.

Established in 1947, MacMillan Provincial Park protects and preserves an internationally significant representative example of Douglas fir old-growth forest within the Coastal Western Hemlock Biogeoclimatic Zone. The park is 301 hectares in size.

Visitors come from across Canada and  throughout  the world to experience the coastal old growth trees, wildlife, culture, and history of this special area.