Central Saanich approved its charter to develop a long-term transportation plan focusing on the safety of vulnerable road users.
The project charter for the Active Transportation Plan commits District staff to engage in a long-term process of identifying priorities and how to meet them.
“Typically the definition of active transportation is anything non-motorized, so it’s when you’re walking or when you’re riding a bike, on a skateboard, on a scooter, it’s pretty much anyone who’s on the road but not in a car,” says Coun. Carl Jensen, adding that includes buses. “Staff have acknowledged that they want to integrate road safety into the plan as well, which starts to look at the interaction between vulnerable road users and cars.”
Jensen says he is pleased that road safety is a focus of the District as he says it is one of the issues Central Saanich residents most contact him about.
Infrastructure, bad drivers, pedestrian safety and making school zones safer are all areas to be addressed in the plan.
Jensen says the project will seek to link the different arms of local government in a cooperative approach, with input from stakeholders across the community.
“The project team will include BC Transit, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the CRD and it’s going to give the opportunity for residents to meet with us as well. We’re going to get the experts in the room to help us design something that’s for the next 20, 30 years down the road,” says Jensen.
Council say they are looking to provide a plan that will best suit the community and have worked together, taking “a team approach.” They say the plan is likely to have a priority system so that needs are met in an efficient and accountable way.
The project will be started in the period running May to August 2019, research will take place from August to December and consultation with the public and different stakeholders is scheduled for February to March 2020. Between February to April 2020 options will be developed to address the issues raised earlier in the process. The project will continue with a review of financial strategy, deciding how they will pay for the projects that come out of the plan during the period of May to August 2020. The plan will then be finalized between September to December 2022.
Jensen says the District has a rough idea of the cost of the plan as Squamish, possessing similar demographics to Central Saanich, pays “around $700,000 a year for their plan.”
Jensen says the feedback he has received from residents has so far been good, as the criticism often leveled against councillors is that they can be reactive..
“By being proactive, laying out a plan of ‘here’s what we want to achieve in the next five, 10, 20 years,’ that way we can actually get through the projects as opposed to fighting fires here and there as they’re emerging. The [staff] engineers deserve credit as well, and it shows what we can achieve as a team. Integrating stakeholders within the solution is what will make this an effective solution for Central Saanich.”