Colwood’s transportation master plan is cruising along, but has hit a speed bump as concerns are raised over future traffic patterns.
Coun. Cynthia Day is concerned about the potential for existing neighbourhood roads to be used as links between busier roadways. Her main concern is a lack of notice to residents who could be affected.
“I think it’s difficult because it’s at an early stage,” she said. “I just don’t think we should be developing plans that residents are not in favour of, I think that’s money in the ditch.”
Among the roads being considered is Painter Road, which could be punched through to connect Metchosin Road to Wishart Road. Bunker Road could also be expanded to connect Wishart to Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Colwood’s deputy city engineer Emmet McCusker said staff are working on modelling future traffic flows and studying impacts up to 2038. At the centre of the work is the proposed development of the Royal Bay area and its influence on vehicle traffic.
The model shows that if nothing is done and the development moves ahead, traffic will increase substantially in the area around Wishart elementary, as well as along Metchosin and Latoria roads. To address that, staff are looking at opening up connecting routes, including Painter Road, though McCusker said it may be too steep to be feasible.
“We’re not saying that we need to do this, but should we feel that’s the recommended way, we would also recommend there be sidewalk improvements and safety improvements that would significantly upgrade those streets in order to be able to handle that traffic safely,” he said.
The changes wouldn’t be needed until well in the future, about 2030, McCusker added.
Council passed a motion this week ensuring that if any major changes to the use of a road are proposed, direct contact will be made with nearby residents, who will then have a chance to provide input before the matter is decided upon.
A number of Painter Road residents attended the meeting, mainly because Day canvassed the neighbourhood to tell them of her concerns.
“I’m just really concerned we’re developing a plan based on a map, somebody looking at a map and saying ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be good to have a road here,'” she said.
Another primary focus are cycling and pedestrian routes, which were reinforced as a priority for the city at a recent transportation master plan open house.
A desire for safe bicycle routes, and more of them, came through at the meeting, specifically along Sooke Road, Veterans Memorial Parkway and Kelly Road. Residents identified bicycle lanes, including buffered lanes, as the preferred option.
McCusker said they are looking at the possibility of developing exclusive cycling and pedestrian routes.
Another public engagement of some kind will be held in four or five weeks. McCusker hopes to see the plan finalized by late July.