Traffic chaos is all a matter of perspective

"Just because we’re getting a taste of big city traffic doesn’t mean we have to resort to a similar temperament"

Usually my morning commute to work couldn’t be a better way to start a work day. I hike across the bridge from East Trail, watch the water flow beneath me and stare at the mural and the mountains ahead.

But that hasn’t been the case lately.

The downtown revitalization plan has thrown a bump in the road and gave many commuters a taste of what life is like on a daily basis in many other parts of Canada.

Most have taken it in stride, others not so much. The rules of decorum in small town traffic have gone out the window or rather into my window so to speak.

Just because we’re getting a taste of big city traffic doesn’t mean we have to resort to a similar temperament.

Perched above Cedar Ave., in the Trail  Times building, we have an incredible view of Red Mountain and can peruse the hillsides of West Trail. It’s actually a bit of a mind retreat to take your eyes off the computer and glance up at the runs at Red or the kaleidoscope of changing seasons.

But now I get the sense that we’re in the heart of a big city with construction noises and horns honking.

Since I don’t get behind the wheel of a car to get downtown I can’t feel any of the recent frustration. But I can relate to my journeys in any city and the sudden increase in traffic and reduction in flow. It can be stressful, frustrating and annoying.

However, putting it all into perspective it’s a small price to pay for a general refurbishing of the city’s inner works on top of revitalizing the downtown area.

We’ve heard the constant chorus from experts across the country that Canada’s infrastructure is aging. Fixing that doesn’t come without a price.

We’ve witnessed it in other communities like Castlegar and Nelson and, of course, Rossland went through the entire downtown upheaval last year.

But for some that price shouldn’t include slowing down their daily commute.

Most of us have experienced  the chaos trying to maintain a normal life through major home renovations. Boxes become cupboards, chairs become coat racks and the bathroom sometimes doubles as a storage closet. It’s frustrating, annoying but we persevere because of the final goal.

However, if that analogy doesn’t ease the pain of sitting through Trail traffic in August and September, just think it could be worse.

With more census data in the news today, it reminded me of a story in June detailing commuting time across Canada. The National Housing Survey said that everyday 15.4 million Canadians commute to work with 11.4 million driving a vehicle to work.

Those living in southern Ontario had the longest average commute at 45 minutes or more. That’s daily, both ways, for most of their working lives, not just for a couple of months in 2013. Basically at least two hours each day is spent slogging through traffic.

Another part of the survey showed that seven out of 10 Canadians live in a metropolitan area. Anyone who has driven in any city over 50,000 people knows that traffic is a way of life when there is that many people.

Delays, being cut off, people honking their horns and the general frustration come with all the benefits of living in a metropolitan area. For some it’s a trade off and it becomes just another part of the day.

However, that’s not the way things are in our corner. Things usually run smoothly with the odd bit of traffic created by a slow-moving truck gaining steam.

We aren’t used to sitting in a line up and watching the light change without moving an inch.

Deep down we know this won’t last forever. At least not like in the big city where you simply accept and succumb to it.

The one thing I have learned from dealing with traffic from Calgary to Vancouver is that the entire routine is like the grocery store.  Sometimes you want to switch to the other lane but you know if you do the odds are the lane you were in usually starts moving. So the best bet is just to sit there, wait your turn and look at the magazine covers.

Of course, while sitting in traffic many turn to other modes to kill time.

Just be happy the police aren’t on foot or bike patrol when traffic is backed up. Despite a much-publicized distracted driving blitz, they’re missing out on a cash windfall with all the people on cell phones in slow-moving traffic.

Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Daily Times

Just Posted

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read