I’ve never stepped into a bullring to do battle with an enraged animal more than 10 times my weight, but I’ve got a pretty good idea what it feels like.
Every morning I have to get from my home in Spring Creek to the Pique office in Function Junction. It’s only a 20 minute walk, but it’s taking years off my life.
That’s because most of the time my only option is to walk along the side of the highway, as cars, trucks and buses pass by a little too closely for comfort. When a plow comes I have no choice but to jump into the waist-deep snowbank — the drivers make it quite clear with their urgent honks that they’re not turning aside for anybody.
To avoid all the fear and unpleasantness I started snowshoeing to work at the start of the winter, which I loved doing. But then the plows came along again and cut the snowbanks on the side of the highway into such a steep pyramid that it’s become impossible to walk that way anymore.
Which leaves the slippery and narrow shoulder of the highway, where I’m basically at the mercy of people that drive too fast, cut corners, or sometimes have nowhere to go because the cars in the oncoming lane don’t think to pull over a little bit to create some room when they see a pedestrian.
There is no southbound bus service to Function Junction from Spring Creek, or I’d be on it. There was a bus stop for a few weeks, but it was removed because it was deemed unsafe for buses to merge with highway traffic at current speeds or for pedestrians taking the bus to cross the highway. Apparently the current situation is much safer.
There is no Valley Trail to Function Junction, and the only walking trail takes about three times longer than the highway. If there’s snow, breaking trail takes even longer than that. If I wanted a 40-minute commute I’d live in Squamish or Pemberton.
One of the reasons we moved to employee housing in Spring Creek in the first place was that it was close to work for my wife and myself and we wouldn’t need to rely on a car to get around. We were thinking and acting sustainably. Who knew that also meant putting my life at risk?
Trust me when I say that I’m not exaggerating the danger, as I have at least one close call with a vehicle almost every day where if I stuck my arm out it would be clipped off at the elbow. The highway is also slippery enough some days that one wrong step could literally launch me under the wheels of a truck.