Laughing Apple Farm Survey to gauge support for slower speed traffic on Beddis Road

This past week it was reported locally here on Salt Spring Island that a petition was sent to the B.C. Legislature seeking to return our private portion of Beddis Road road to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI). The petitioners want this section of road to be maintained at “highway standards” which means removal of the speed humps, and the speed limit signage, as well as perhaps some trees and hedgerows. This would make it a faster more urban-looking road, contrary to the heritage status of Beddis Road. Last week the petition was not accepted by the legislature because “it was out of order” and contained “many errors”. But we have a different vision for Beddis Road and several other secondary rural roads on Salt Spring Island (e.g. Cusheon Lake Road – also a heritage road).

We have posted an informal survey at our farmstand at 900 Beddis Road to gauge the amount of community support for slower and more democratic heritage roads on Salt Spring – roads managed such that walkers, bicyclists, horseback riders and cars all have equal rights of access, enjoyment and safety. For 24 years we have maintained the section of Beddis Road that passes through Laughing Apple Farm to show to the community our vision of what a heritage road should be. We hope our efforts to slow our section of road will be inspiring to other neighborhoods and will initiate a thoughtful discussion in the community about the character of our heritage roads.

Ultimately, with sufficient community support, we would like to petition MOTI to allow privately-funded speed humps or other traffic slowing measures on several other sections of Salt Spring Island heritage roads (e.g Cusheon Lake Road).

What are we asking in this survey?

By way of starting the discussion, we are asking you sign our informal survey if you can answer “yes” to all or most of the following questions:

  • Do you support Laughing Apple Farm’s efforts to reduce the speed of cars on their stretch of Beddis Road?
  • Do you believe that slower automobile speeds on this section of road are beneficial to the community?
  • Do you feel portions of other Salt Spring secondary roads might benefit from slowing down traffic?

MOTI has certain standards for small rural roads that are sometimes at odds with the enjoyment of walking, biking, or horseback riding on these roads. There may be times when the people who live along the road come together and decide that the value in their road is in its natural beauty and the variety of birds and animals present, and there is less value in a wider and higher-speed road.

Background on this issue

We have owned Laughing Apple Farm since 1997. We farm on both sides of the road and we have to cross the road with tractors and other farm vehicles. The farm is 166 acres, was homesteaded in the 1880s, and has never been subdivided. We pay taxes on the full property including the land underlying the road surface. About six years ago we installed signs requesting people to drive 30 km/hr through our farm. The traffic did not slow down.

So, four years ago we installed speed humps. We can now safely cross the road at our driveway with farm vehicles. We maintain the road such that the sides of the road are green and some trees stretch out to provide a cool canopy for summer walks in the shade. We often see people walking or bicycling because now it is a quieter slower road thanks to the speed humps. Our vision is for a slower heritage road:

  1. We believe that walkers, bicyclists, horseback riders should have equal rights to vehicles in using these roads.
  2. We believe that hedgerows, trees and animal habitat along the road are a positive value for the enjoyment of the roads.
  3. We believe that slowing traffic also allows animals to safely navigate human roads.
  4. We support the use of speed humps or other traffic-slowing installations to slow traffic including signage indicating that a section of road has a special status.
  5. We believe the speed humps should be funded privately so that scarce road maintenance funds are not used.

Obviously, there are some people who dislike our speed humps and prefer faster traffic on Beddis Road. These people are demanding the speed humps be removed by claiming our section of the road is public. But this is not true – it is private.

Why is the Laughing Apple Farm section of Beddis Road a Private road?

  1. We have had discussions with the Ministry of Transportation and there is agreement that our portion of Beddis Road is private property.
  2. We have maintained this section of the road as a private road for 24 years just as did the previous owners.
  3. We claim Section 42 of the Transportation Act (regarding expenditure of public funds on a road) does not deem our section of the road a public road for the following reasons:

While we appreciate that MOTI may have documentation that chip sealing was undertaken about 10 years ago, this was done in the face of our objections and behind our backs.

It is clear from case law that an expenditure on a road must be more than trifling. Our portion of Beddis Road was created by the previous owners and has existed as an access route for the resident farm owners in our area, for over 100 years. Historically, informal agreements governed its usage. The chip sealing did not constitute a substantive expense in either maintaining or upgrading this section of Beddis Road such that it would meet the Section 42 criteria.

Recent case law suggests that intention plays a part in the analysis of the application of Section 42. We continue to exhibit our intention to maintain this road as a private road by signing the road, setting a modest speed limit, and continuing, as did the previous owner, to incur costs removing fallen trees and branches, mowing the shoulders, picking up litter, and maintaining the road surface.

Visit the Laughing Apple Farm at 900 Beddis Road to participate in the survey.

May 3, 2021 1:40 PM

  • justdrew says:

    I can't comment on ownership but must say I applaud and support the efforts to reduce speed on Beddis. I run this road nearly every day and 90% of drivers are responsible. The other 10% not so much. Honestly, what's the hurry? This idyllic stretch of roadway should slow us all down to appreciate it's beauty. Also it is always good to not kill somebody.

  • Forrest Ives says:

    Your road, your rules. Thanks for making it available, even to those who apparently don't appreciate it. And thanks for your concern for cyclists and pedestrians, too.

    Not to mention your apple juice....oh, thank you so much for the apple juice (I drink 4 jugs a month, lol.)

  • Mary Maclean says:

    A very clear explanation. We like your speed bumps. It is such a pretty road.
    Thank you for letting us use it.

  • letsmakeadeal says:

    If only the rest of SSI roads were maintained to this high standard! Thank you Laughing Apple.

  • Charley M says:

    I would like to see a petition for more speed bumps on this island.
    IF you were in a hurry, rushing and speeding to get somewhere so very important, and a child on a bike, (or a woman on a horse, or a tractor, or a newly fallen tree or somebody's grandfather) suddenly appeared and you smashed into them, would you wish with all your heart that you could go back in time 10 seconds? Would you wish that you could have slowed down and been better prepared to avoid that devastating life-altering crash? Well now is your chance for that 10 seconds.

  • dodo0953 says:

    please leave this road as it is-we need more "speed-bumped" roads on this island-where do you need to be in such an all-fired hurry anyway?

  • James A says:

    There is little doubt that Cusheon Lake Road is far more dangerous than Beddis. Traffic controls on Beddis serve to funnel more traffic onto CLR, a road with no shoulders, blind laneways, blind corners and blind hills (which I think is one of the goals of the Laughing A.'s ridiculous measures, along with defacing the sign at Cusheon and Stewart which was rightly meant to direct cyclists to the far safer Beddis Rd)). I believe the limit on Beddis is 50 KPH which is low enough to provide reasonable safety IMO; why make everyone pay for the one-in-ten who are scofflaws? I have been driving Beddis for over 3 decades and have never, ever seen a 'farm vehicle'. And the sight lines from the L.A. farm stand are just fine.

  • James A says:

    Really? Shovelling some gravel into a pothole months after it showed up? Branches that interfere with traffic? Not to mention the fake 'Farm vehicles' sign. I guess we are all entitled to our opinion.

  • mtadam says:

    The whole world needs to slow down -- good start on Beddis!

  • jg says:

    I totally support your endeavors and hope the same would happen for Cusheon. I'll be down to fill out the survey tomorrow,, It might be an idea to post the survey online as well, Cheers,Jonathan George 391 Sky Valley Rd

  • M. Walker says:

    In support of your survey and keeping it as is.

  • Robert says:

    The Speed Bumps make a statement and are Obnoxious

  • motti says:

    Just another SSI blunder. No job to get to and from? No rush then I guess. Watch out for that tractor that crosses the road once a year though.

  • Darlene Gage says:

    I live at the far end of Beddis, and can say that while I don’t mind the speed humps, I do see literally dozens of cars each day starting in the Spring, who are lost and looking to get to Ganges. They come down Cusheon Rd and see the sign that says ‘private road’, and rightfully think they need to head in the other direction. They then end up on our dead end street, lost and bewildered. We help people every day to find their way. And while for cars it’s not a huge deal, I can tell you I wouldn’t want to be the cyclist or walker who gets lost so far from their destination. And we’ve seen many. Some who come as it’s getting dark and are panicking to find their way. It’s a stress no one needs. This is compounded by the fact that the neighbours at the Beddis/Cusheon junction won’t let any direction signs stay long on the road allowance outside their property (I guess it interferes with the big logging truck that likes to park on the road verge), further confusing people trying to get to Fulford or Ganges. If we could work together to make the direction signs better, that would be wonderful. The speed limits are another issue, but the resentment is compounded by this unintentional impact on the amount of lost traffic in our neighbourhood and never being able to peacefully be outside our home without being asked for directions multiple times a day. Perhaps a meeting to talk about options would help to find some mutually agreeable solutions?

  • Robert Birch says:

    The issue of slowing down needs an island-wide discussion, seriously. Increasingly, people have also turned Beaver Point Rd into a race track, doubling the 50km limit. I've put out traffic cones. I've walked on the side of the road with the cone on my head trying to bring some awareness to the situation. We feel like the rural character of the island is increasingly jacked up on caffeine and disorganization (the inability to safely get yourself where you are going on time within the speed limit). This was happening pre-pandemic and has only intensified as we all increasingly deal with mental health stressors. Driving slower slows down the heart rate, reminds us to breath and to notice where we are. I don't mean to complain but wow, the mental drain of living beside a highway is upsetting. We are on our farm full time and need to where ear protection from the speeding trucks and cars it is so bad. Please, please slow down.

  • sheryl says:

    Other roads that could use similar traffic-calming solutions: Starks Road, Blackburn Road, LePage Road (add your "favourite " here).

    Pickup drivers are the worst for speeding and not paying attention.

  • Christopher Cheeseman says:

    As a resident on Creekside drive I need to comment on this spurious piece which TOTALLY misrepresents the real situation regarding the "private" road section of Beddis road. The installation of speed bumps was never discussed with local residents and they actually represent a serious hazard to cyclists traveling that section of road. Particularly as there is a large and dangerous pothole as you approach one close to the farm entrance forcing vehicles to swerve at a blind corner. The farm's claim that they maintain the road in a great condition is absolutely false as there are now several potholes which are infrequently filled with gravel which lasts just a few days. A couple of years ago CRD filled them with blacktop which was dug out and then replaced with gravel. Locals know the locations of these potholes and try to avoid them, but visitors to the island get an ugly surprise on that stretch of road quite often damaging tires and wheels and suspension. However, most importantly, the combination of speed bumps and potholes makes this stretch of road very dangerous for school buses, and emergency vehicles who need to access the far end of Beddis Road. Coming via the other "heritage road" Cusheon Lake Road is not an option for emergency vehicles given how narrow and twisting it is.

    So, please this piece is a gross misrepresentation of the true situation. The local petition was presented to the legislature by our MLA Adam Olsen and it was NOT thrown out as has been claimed. Please stick to the facts and do not mislead visitors to our neighbourhood persuading them to sign a petition for a section of road which little affects them.

  • Joan Hendrick says:

    We have been in awe of the speed bumps on Beddis. As Cusheon Lake Road seasonal residents since the 60's we have experienced the change in what was a quiet rural road, to a highway where the 50 km speed limit is largely ignored. The legal 30 km zone may as well not be posted as it is mostly ignored. Drivers are emboldened as they know ticketing is highly unlikely. Speed bumps and other traffic calming seem to be the only way to slow down those who wish to travel at speeds that place other users at risk. We did not notice any increase in traffic after the speed bumps went in on Beddis - and have been envious of Laughing Apple's ability to install them. Laughing Apple are entitled to manage the road in a way that makes them feel safe. I wish drivers could all accept that slowing down is just the kind and respectful thing to do. The high speeds we see on these roads are meant for highways, not rural roads.

  • marymarymary says:

    Don't come that way very often, so will not drive down to complete the survey. However, I love the bumps. Slow is good!

  • jam ssiwater says:

    Sensible proposition to reduce speeds on Beddis and similar roads.

  • Fred Hercules says:

    This is an island wide problem.
    Interestingly before the pandemic started lots of people were complaining on the exchange that the people speeding here where tourists. Not surprised to know now that it’s entirely islanders , old , young, rich and poor.
    Cusheon lake swimming hole is now a MANDATORY 30km limit but only a few care to observe kids or pets swimming and milling about by the cars.
    Without physical regulation in the form of police or traffic calming measures this will not change.
    Have a nice day and slow down.

  • Fred Hercules says:

    By continually slowing down over speed bumps , Ambulances , police and emergency vehicles would be slower in situations that seconds wasted may have saved a life. Policing , speeding cameras (yes they actually work ) is a proven method. Fines are effective .

  • menbunch says:

    Huh? Just leave for work a minute earlier. If you're rushing to work every morning then i think there are different issues at play than a couple of speedbumps on a traffic-calmed road

  • menbunch says:

    Serious hazard to cyclists? I don't know about other cyclists, but I know I would rather be dodging potholes and speedbumps than being shunted into a ditch by a dualie flying by at twice the speed limit.

    Not sure why private is in air quotes when, to my understanding, this stretch of road is indeed owned by individuals and not the state -- i.e. private. I can't speak to the ongoing maintenance because I'm not inspecting the roadtop every time I go through, but from my experience the road is more or less on par with other publicly maintained roads on Salt Spring.

    I understand that, as another posted mentioned, every second counts when it comes to ambulance and other emergency services. You mention not being consulted when the speed bumps went in. Could you understand the land owner's frustration when (allegedly!) a petition to make changes to *their* property is put before the Legislature without their (again, alleged) consultation? That would certainly frustrate me. I'm certain there's a solution buried somewhere that would satisfy all parties.

  • snowflyer says:

    As a biker I applaud this! Cusheon, or honestly most other roads on Salt Spring are simply unbike-able because of how fast and careless drivers are. It does seem like you might need help moving bigger boulders to the sides of the speed bumps! And what's all the fuss about farm vehicles? It's their road, they can put up whatever signs they want.

  • Phineas says:

    The Four Rules for living on a small Island with other people:
    1) Slow down
    2) Mellow out.
    3) Make small talk
    4) OR go someplace bigger.

    Thanks for encouraging people to slow down.

  • Pierre Frisch says:

    I agree on the principle we need to share the road and roads are not only for cars. but I strongly disagree on the means; speed bumps are a stupid and outdated idea. There are lot more modern and enjoyable solution to achieve the same results. (https://www.pps.org/article/livememtraffic)

  • Steven Barer says:

    I heartily support slower and more leisurely use of rural backroads, and can entirely relate to the desire to slow the vehicle traffic down so its safe for all users. Bravo.

  • Robert says:

    One thing that annoys me most about saltspring saltspring saltspring is how slow people are

  • James A says:

    I have advocated for going slow on SSI for a long time but until the more significant risks of Cusheon Lake Road are mitigated (say, a 30 KPH limit extended to the entire narrow portion), it is hard for me to support this newly spun 'heritage values' label as a rationale for The Humps. Besides, CLR makes for a much more scenic walk/ride/trot than Beddis if not for the traffic. Let's cul-de-sac CLR (with a remote control magnetic gate for First Responders) before another fuel truck hits the ditch and unloads its cargo into the lake.

  • James A says:

    The location of the survey encumbers its completion. Why not a simple online version?

  • Connie Kuhns says:

    I live in a neighbourhood above Beddis and I fully support the presence of those speed bumps, as I did at the time they were installed. Although I frequently drive along Beddis, walking along the road has become very hazardous. Many times I have been forced to quickly jump aside into the bushes or near the ditch to get out of the way of a speeding car or truck. We could use a few more.

  • Emmanuel Roy says:

    It s always good to see speed limit , but these speed bumps are not well signaled, during snow time or if the sun got a specific angle, they are hard to see. So maybe to make peace with more people that will be a good idea to add a sign on each of them.
    Thank you

  • Richard Veenhof says:

    The article actually mentions the use of speed bumps so not sure it is considered to be outdated. Some of the other tools in the box would be useful in different areas of the island. Speed bumps or even rumble strips seem to be the only effective methods to use at the laughing apple farm road.