Kamloops has lots of advantages. Great weather, reasonable house prices, and for the most part almost no traffic problems. Sitting though two red lights is grounds enough to complain in Kamloops. Kamloopsians are not used to being stuck in traffic.
Which is probably why with the start of the construction on Overlanders Bridge people have been responding with shock and dismay on the amount of time required to get to and from the North Shore. What typically takes minutes is taking an hour or more in certain circumstances.
This past week, one spanner in the works, or more correctly, one accident, and Overlanders and Halston, and even the Red Bridge, were all backed up. A lot of people spent a lot of time getting home because of that one accident. Now some worry how it will be for the rest of summer.
I don’t have to commute over any of those bridges, so for now I am relatively unaffected by the Overlanders Bridge construction. But I can’t be too smug. Nor can others who live downtown and work up the hill or vice versa. In the next few weeks, widening of Columbia Street will start, which is a street I drive every day, usually twice. I’m going to be driving right through another huge bottleneck.
Like a lot of other Kamloopsians, I’ll have to learn how to deal with traffic backups.
Or will I? Even after a few days of bridge construction, the negative feedback from people on Twitter has slowed.
That’s because, as far as I can see, once there’s a spanner in the works, people find other ways to do things. Faced with a longer commute, people look for ways to change the situation.
Some people go to work early, some stay late. I’ve heard some people have been going to the bar for a glass of refreshments. There will be a few people who will start biking, others who will take a bus. As well, Thompson Rivers University has finished classes, and in a month or two, school will be out and people will be on vacation.
So while things may be worse than usual, I’m hoping traffic will be bearable this summer for everyone in Kamloops.
Just a few minutes of watching Global TV News from Vancouver shows me even when construction starts on Columbia Street, Kamloops has a long way to go to having a difficult commute.
For one thing, our traffic problems are temporary whereas the Lower Mainland’s traffic woes are ongoing. For another, we are by and large a laid back city. Yes there are a few aggressive drivers, but for the most part, people are mindful of others and simply want to get to their destination safely.
And we have our priorities, like the driver who sent his passenger to Tim Hortons for takeout when they were stuck on Lansdowne Avenue.
Here’s hoping people keep their humour and enjoy the sunshine, even if they’re stuck in traffic a bit longer than we all are used to.
— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.