Three Saanich councillors are asking council to consider a $2-million investment in road safety improvements for the District. (Black Press Media file photo)

Three Saanich councillors ask for $2-M investment into District road safety

‘I don’t want roads to be safer in 30 years, I want them safer now,’ says Coun. Ned Taylor

Three Saanich councillors are proposing that the District invest $2 million in road safety upgrades.

Couns. Rebecca Mersereau, Ned Taylor and Zac de Vries submitted a report to council highlighting a need for investment into improved road safety infrastructure in Saanich. They are asking their peers to discuss the report at the Jan. 20 council meeting and vote on adding the $2 million expense to the draft 2020 budget that will be submitted for council consideration in March.

READ ALSO: Saanich councillor feels new Walmart at Hillside a step in the wrong direction

In the report, the councillors acknowledge that there are several factors that contribute to Saanich residents’ road safety concerns including road speeds, parking and inadequate infrastructure for vulnerable road users. They pointed out that the financial aspects of increasing road safety are a barrier but are within council’s control.

Saanich’s transportation network needs to make sense for all road users, reduce the need for a car and ensure residents’ safety, Taylor explained. He feels the current network doesn’t do that.

“There are lots of roads in Saanich where it’s actually quite dangerous to walk or bike along,” he said.

De Vries agreed, noting that residents have been voicing concerns about road safety in the District since before the election.

Taylor explained that the Active Transportation Plan (ATP) is strong but that the 30-year timeline means residents will need to wait too long for safer roads.

READ ALSO: Crash renews Saanich residents’ concern about safety on Tillicum Road

The councillors acknowledge that $2 million is a large sum, but note that investing in “necessary infrastructure” is expensive.

Just one metre of sidewalk costs $1000, Taylor noted, and District staff told the councillors it would cost upwards of $12 million per year to cut the ATP 30-year timeline in half – which they say Saanich taxpayers can’t afford.

Mersereau explained that “meaningful improvement” can still be made with $2 million. In the report, it’s noted that $2-million is enough to construct about 2 kilometres of sidewalks, 20 new sidewalks or fund projects to add speed radar devices, regulatory signage and crosswalk and sidewalk improvements to streets that require them most. The ATP provides a framework for prioritizing upgrades, Mersereau noted.

READ ALSO: Speeding Alaska driver tells VicPD police chief he knows how to drive in the snow

While speeding up the ATP is a priority, Taylor explained that investing in road safety aligns with Saanich’s strategic plan in at least eight ways – one of which is to work towards a goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. Increased road safety infrastructure could help reduce the District’s greenhouse gas emissions by giving people the opportunity to travel through Saanich without a car.

Mersereau is pleased with the feedback from residents so far and is “feeling positive” about having the report come to council. She feels it will enable an important discussion.

“This is a priority for the three of us and I hope for the rest of council,” Taylor said. “We’re eager to get this work done.”

Although he feels optimistic about Monday’s meeting, de Vries acknowledged that they can’t predict what the final 2020 budget will look like as “tough decisions” are made during budget deliberations.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of SaanichSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read