Lines in the dark - The Orca

Lines in the dark

Jody w Glasses 1

Jody Vance: The only problem with Vancouver’s road markings is they can’t be seen in the dark or rain. Good thing Vancouver is so bright and sunny.

To kick off 2020, this could be a column about the broken promise to have ridesharing by Christmas. It could be about the need for 24-hour transit if the politicking continues around a taxi monopoly. It could be about so many things that has taxpayers howling, but today’s special New Year edition of The Middle lands us in the middle of the road – literally.

The inspiration for today’s Middle started with a crazy driving “near miss” on a dark, rainy Tuesday before Christmas. As I drove at the speed limit westbound along Cornwall Ave, I suddenly came within inches of what would have been a catastrophic multi-car accident.

After one driver misread the lane markings pulling out from Arbutus making a left into our path, four cars literally slammed on their brakes, stopping only a breath from one another.

It was the closest call of my life.

As I drove off, charged with adrenaline and heart pounding in my ears, I wondered if the almost at fault driver had bad eyesight or wore glasses like me. I’ve long blamed my astigmatism for difficulty seeing road markings around Vancouver at or after dusk, in the rain.

A tweet on New Year’s Eve showed that it’s not just me. Karm Sumal, the Co-founder and CEO of The Daily Hive tweeted this:

Dear @CityofVancouver you need better road markings. It’s difficult to see the lines in this stormy weather. And please don’t waste anymore of taxpayers dollars on useless studies on the topic. Just fix it.

He is so right. The tweet garnered a great deal of response, all the replies were epiphanies like mine: “I thought it was my eyes!”, or “we were JUST talking about his TODAY!”

Hey, City Hall, we have an issue on our highways and byways, our side streets and main thoroughfares: drivers cannot see the lane markings. Help?

We live in the direct path of Pineapple Express after stormy Pineapple Express. We have precious little daylight for a good chunk of the year. So many drivers are squinting their way around, perhaps this is a cause of our collective crappy driver rating?

As George Affleck and I often discuss on UnSpun, the City of Vancouver needs to get back to basics. We need roads fixed, the potholes and dips that collect massive puddles of rainwater, sidewalks, garbage – the list is long. Imagine what could get done if the city stopped with all the studies and put those dollars to work?

The best type of reflective paint likely isn’t the greenest or most environmentally friendly — but it will save lives. Let’s get 2020 started with some common sense from our municipal leaders and fix what’s broken, or in this case what cannot be seen.

Oddly, the bike lane paint is reflective. This column isn’t about bike lanes…but it could be.

Happy New Year.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.