Put pedestrians first. Create a central landmark transit hub. Create a compact urban core. Those are three of the major ideas appearing in a report will help guide the Uptown Douglas-Corridor Plan.
The Plan Framework Report identifies the directions and concepts for the area following input from the public, stakeholders and members of the project advisory committee during the initial stages of the overall project. It seeks to create a comprehensive 30-year vision and implementation plan for the Uptown-Douglas Corridor.
The study area includes several Saanich institutional and commercial landmarks, including Saanich Municipal Hall and Uptown Shopping Centre. Two major regional transportation corridors — Douglas Street linking downtown Victoria to the Western communities, and Blanshard Street connecting Highway 17 to the Greater Victoria International Airport and BC Ferries Swartz Bay Terminal — also run through the area.
The area is home to some 4,000 people, and the place of work of some 10,000 people. Another 30,000 people use transit through the area, and some 140,000 people live within a ten-minute drive, said Shari Holmes-Saltzman, project manager in a presentation to council.
“This is a really critical regional hub,” she said. And if the framework report offers any guide, it is to become the ‘heart’ of Saanich. “It’s about creating a heart and a core for Saanich,” she said.
Other major ideas found in the report call for residential-led growth, the creation of public places, and the transformation of Blanshard Street and Vernon into complete streets that would prioritize local access and create a prominent civic space.
Council accepted the report, thereby paving for staff to develop a draft report that incorporates its findings. Staff are expected to report back in the spring of 2018.