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A wider, safer Shelbourne? Perhaps in 30 years
Bike lanes and improved sidewalks for Shelbourne Street will come piecemeal and largely decades down the road, driven by Saanich purchasing land as property rezonings arise.
Saanich is touring its Shelbourne Valley Action Plan at open houses this week and next, a plan which defines longterm goals for the roadway and surrounding neighbourhoods between Hillside Centre and Gordon Head.
In 30 years, a draft of the plan sees a Shelbourne Street with full bike lanes, sidewalks and a planted boulevard separating the two, along with the present four lanes of road.
“One of the things we heard loud and clear was that mobility is really the pressing issue here, particularly for cyclists, pedestrians and transit,” manager of community planning Cameron Scott said.
Scott sees this plan coming together as properties along Shelbourne apply for rezoning over the years, at which point the district can look to acquire three to four metre right-of-way dedications to provide the space for bike lanes and wider sidewalks.
“It will happen piecemeal, largely dictated by the private sector,” Scott said.
For the immediate future, the plan calls for a north-south bike route which will use segments of Shelbourne Street, but also parts of Cedar Hill Road.
The plan outlines “interim” bike lanes on Shelbourne from North Dairy Road to Pear Street and from Blair Avenue to Torquay Drive. Space is tight, but Scott said bike lanes could be added on Shelbourne south of Pear Street, albeit with the possibility of removing trees and strips of boulevard.
“It’s really trying to balance all the trade offs between cycling and vehicle movement and pedestrians, but there definitely is a strong desire for near-term improvements,” Scott said.
“Really this is just a re-think of what Shelbourne looks like and really trying to make it more of a people place.”
Improvements for pedestrians are also in the plan, particularly in the central portions of Shelbourne.
Short-term ideas include taking out bus bays in some areas to shorten road crossings and adding more boulevards to buffer sidewalks from the road.
The plan also tackles establishing land use and height guidelines for the future, focusing on growth in designated centres, such as University Centre and Hillside Centre.
Sharon Duncan, a resident on Kingsley Street (near Hillside Centre), said she is worried about the plan’s proposals of increasing density and traffic of the area, and the potential impact on her property value.
“We don’t have sidewalks, our kids have to walk down the middle of the street as it is, and you’re going to put high-density housing in there?” Duncan said. “Are you going to buy knowing high-density is going to be across the road?”
The draft plan is available on the district’s website or at the district office (770 Vernon Ave.). A survey will remain on the district’s website for feedback until Nov. 25.
Shelbourne action plan open houses
-Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre (4100 Lambrick Way) from 2 to 6 p.m.
-Monday, Nov. 4 at St. Aidan’s United (3703 St. Aidan’s Rd.) from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
-Wednesday, Nov 6 at the Lutheran Church of the Cross (3787 Cedar Hill Rd.) from 3 to 8 p.m.