Commuters make the most of the E&N Rail Trail as they head to work. (Black Press Media file photo)

West Shore communities taking steps to improve Walk Scores

View Royal, Langford, Colwood adding sidewalks and multi-modal transportation options

With the highway into downtown Victoria often clogged up with vehicle traffic, it’s no surprise that West Shore communities rank low on the Walk Score scale.

The Walk Score website, which promotes walkable neighbourhoods, ranks communities on a score between zero to 100 by analyzing walking routes to nearby amenities. It also measures pedestrian friendliness by analyzing population density and road metrics like the length of a block and intersection density.

READ MORE: North Saanich and Metchosin are the worst places for pedestrians according to Walk Score

View Royal, Langford and Colwood all received low scores and were marked as car-dependent by the website with scores of 47, 48 and 42, respectively.

Mayors David Screech of View Royal, Stew Young of Langford and Rob Martin of Colwood have all said improving walkability and transportation in their respective municipalities is important.

“It’s right in our Official Community Plan that all modes of transportation are to be supported,” Screech said. “In fact, if anything, I would say we tend to focus more on multi-modal transportation like bikes and pedestrians.”

Screech said View Royal’s community plan also calls for more community centres like Eagle Creek Village near Victoria General Hospital. He said creating spaces like that for residences and businesses increase walkability in neighbourhoods.

Additionally, Screech noted the E&N Rail Trail expansion is a benefit to View Royal’s walkability as well, as it gives community members a safe place to walk or bike away from vehicles on roads.

READ MORE: Grocer’s opening will mark major milestone for Eagle Creek Village in View Royal

Young said Langford is increasing walkability through the addition of sidewalks and improving safety with more well-lit areas.

“Our downtown core 15 years ago didn’t even have sidewalks,” Young said. “People will walk more in their community when they feel safer so you’re starting to see more sidewalks, walking trails and bike trails in Langford.”

Young said connecting to downtown via the E&N Rail Trail also improves the walkability of the city, giving people the option to commute to work. However, he said he would still like to see government offices moved out to the West Shore.

“That’s what’s kind of missing in a downtown core,” Young said. “You want to have that opportunity to work, live and play…if you can live close to work you’re walking.”

With the number of blue-collar jobs in Langford that require vehicles due to equipment and moving from job site to job site, Young said he thinks adding government offices in the city would encourage people who don’t need their vehicles to walk.

READ MORE: Colwood, Esquimalt mayors support potential passenger commuter ferry

The City of Colwood also includes adding more opportunities for walking and cycling in its community plan through enhancing walking networks, improving sidewalk design and prioritizing schools, centres and transit areas. Improved public spaces with pedestrian-friendly streets, buildings and plazas is part of the Official Community Plan as well.

The city also seeks to improve transit service in order to help take vehicles off the roads.

“There’s a real recognition with BC Transit as well as BC Ferries about the needs that are occurring here in the West Shore,” Martin said. “I believe we’re shifting culturally and we’re starting to understand that we don’t necessarily have to have a vehicle for everything.”

Martin said he thinks improving transit will encourage people to commute on foot to transit hubs where they can then take a bus or commuter ferry to work downtown.

“We need to understand that we can’t look at traditional models from the 1970s in how we move people around,” Martin said.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Victoria to reassess 2020 budget in light of COVID-19; more hotel rooms found for the homeless

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update on municipal measures on March 31

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Victoria police arrest man in stolen Jubilee Hospital worker’s car

Suspect found in car with drugs, stolen property and weapons

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Nanaimo dentists donate 4,000 masks, 25,000 gloves to health-care peers

Nanaimo District Dental Society collects items for front-line workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read