A damaged wooden barrier at the corner of Main and Third is evidence of the area’s troubles.

Walkability improvement project hinders drivability in Tofino

There will be some modifications that happen out there to regress this issue," said Tofino CAO Bob MacPherson.

A feature designed to help Tofino’s walkability has hurt its drivability.

As part of a $471,000 downtown revitalization project aimed at making Main Street more attractive to pedestrians, Tofino installed wooden barriers around the Third Street and Main intersection.

At least one of these barriers has proven to be too low for some drivers to see and has reportedly become an oft-struck obstacle.

Hendrik Stansch and Zuzana Stanschova were visiting Tofino from Switzerland back in July and wound up stuck when they crashed into one of the barriers and lodged their vehicle on top of it.

The experience was negative enough that the pair penned a letter to Tofino’s municipal council, which council reviewed on Aug. 23, urging them to change the area’s design.

“At first, we were completely surprised what had happened as there had been no barrier visible from the car—especially from the driver’s position—nor had we seen anything when turning right,” they wrote.

Stansch wrote that he had never experienced anything like Tofino’s wooden barriers in his roughly 50 years driving experience and added that, while he and Stanchova waited for a mechanic to come help, a local advised them many vehicles have hit the barrier since its installation earlier this year.

“This remains an unpleasant memory from our vacation and while it is evident that the barrier looks nice for pedestrians, it poses a traffic risk in our view for cars which in turn may one day turn out to be a risk for pedestrians as well,” they wrote.

After reviewing the letter, council heard from district CAO Bob MacPherson who said locals have also raised concerns over the barriers and changes are in the works.

“We have contacted our consultant who designed this and notified them of our concern,” MacPherson said. “A solution has been developed and a work order has been issued…There will be some modifications that happen out there to regress this issue.”