Delaying a dog walk by half an hour might not sound too important in the greater scheme of things, but for Marc Porpaczy it could have been a life-saving decision.
On Jan. 19, just before 8 p.m. Porpaczy was watching television with his wife when he heard a loud bang outside his home in the Greater Victoria suburb of Colwood.
MUST-SEE MOMENT: A car hits a culvert and soars above a quiet residential street in #Colwood.
Luckily, both passengers only sustained minor injuries.
— Aaron Guillen (@iaaronguillen) January 25, 2021
Porpaczy’s worst suspicions were confirmed as he peeked outside to see a car lying in a ditch a few houses down from his own. Windshield fragments glittered on his neighbour’s driveway and concrete chunks from a culvert littered his own driveway.
West Shore RCMP believe that the driver lost control while heading downhill on Milburn Drive. Const. Nancy Saggar, media relations officer, said police believe speeding was a factor, but the driver was not impaired.
While the driver got out on his own, firefighters required the Jaws of Life to get the passenger out. Both suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital.
“The fact is that could’ve been myself or any of my neighbours on the road that night,” said Porpaczy, who captured some eyebrow-raising video of the vehicle smashing into the culvert on his security camera. “I don’t want to use this video to sensationalize what happened, but the residents have gone from frustrated to angry.”
But the video has underscored longstanding neighbourhood concerns about lack of pedestrian safety.
Porpaczy’s neighbour Brad Windsor has been advocating for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive. Last year, he brought a petition with around 250 signatures to council, spoke with city staff and shared his concerns at council meetings. Since then, he said council hasn’t made any promises.
In August 2018, the city released a public survey that showed 61 per cent of respondents agreed with traffic calming measures along Milburn Drive and Lagoon Drive, below the 75 per cent required to spur change.
“It’s not an isolated case. I just hope it doesn’t take a worse crash to take place for council to take action. There’s no reason for optimism until they prioritize this street,” said Windsor.
Porpaczy – who said there have been three major accidents there in three years – drives his four-year-old grandson down the road to the Lagoon instead of walking.
When he walks down Milburn Drive during the evenings, he uses a flashlight and regularly looks over his shoulder.
Colwood mayor Rob Martin said council will be considering a list of priority routes to begin building new sidewalks with cycling lanes in March. The city has committed to a program that creates new sidewalks every year, and two sections of sidewalk are scheduled to be built this year on Metchosin Road and Painter Road.
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