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Saanich unveils new road safety plan with 2030 aim to halve serious crashes

District is seeking community feedback before council receives finalized version in the summer
The McKenzie Avenue and Shelbourne Street intersection, with its multitude of turn signals, bike lanes and crosswalks, has been scored as the most dangerous in Saanich in a new draft road safety plan. (Mark Page/News Staff)

Saanich has finished its draft road safety plan and is looking for some feedback.

The district developed the new Road Safety Action Plan over the past two years and will put it to council for adoption sometime this summer after the community feedback process is complete.

The draft document begins by noting there were 12 fatal crashes in Saanich between 2016 and 2020, and there is a crash resulting in an injury an average of every 10 hours in the district.

The aim is to change this by adopting a road-safety philosophy called Vision Zero — a mindset that road fatalities and serious injuries can and should be eliminated — and develop a system that can handle driver error without people getting hurt.

“We have heard your concerns about road safety and addressing them is a top priority for council,” said Mayor Dean Murdock in a news release. “We are seeking to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries while ensuring safe, healthy and equitable mobility for everyone.”

The new plan will guide decisions on infrastructure investment in Saanich roadways for the next 10 years. While the ultimate goal is to end fatalities and serious injuries altogether, the plan has a interim target of reducing them by 50 per cent by 2030.

In creating this plan, Saanich staff also set out to study where crashes occur most, and why. Overwhelmingly, crashes occur most at intersections, with driver inattentiveness – texting at the wheel being one example – being the number one cause.

Crashes involving pedestrians and bicycles were also shown to have more serious outcomes. Data presented in the plan show a 90 per cent survival rate for a pedestrian involved in a crash with the vehicle travelling at 30 kilometres per hour, but just a 10 per cent survival rate when the vehicle is travelling 55 kilometres per hour.

Several intersections on McKenzie Avenue were featured on the most-dangerous list, which uses a weighted ranking where fatal crashes and pedestrian-involved incidents get more points than other types of collisions. The intersection of McKenzie and Shelbourne Street is the worst in Saanich under the ranking system.

To fix all this, the action plan has six elements, starting with lowering speeds. It also includes education, safer vehicles, safer road design, enhanced emergency response and better land-use planning. These elements are then broken down into 31 more specifics actions ranging from improving sight lines at intersections and driveways to exploring the legalization of electric kick scooters.

The 99-page document is available online at, along with a 5-minute survey to provide feedback.

READ MORE: Saanich council moves to speed action on road safety, active transportation

About the Author: Mark Page

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