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LETTER: Group pushing for improvements to transportation network in Saanich

Many of us have spent these many pandemic months venturing out on foot or bike in our neighbourhoods. Walking and riding has been a great way to get exercise, see our neighbours (at a safe distance), get fresh air and enjoy the natural beauty of our community.

For me, it’s been a chance to head out for a walk or bike ride with my kids. We love to get some ice cream and explore new parts of our neighbourhood. But it’s also been a reminder of how unsafe it can be to get around in many parts of Saanich that lack sidewalks and bike lanes.

During my time on Saanich council, I pushed for road safety investments like better walking and biking infrastructure. I enthusiastically supported the Active Transportation Strategy and am delighted to see it guiding the creation of safe infrastructure. The 30-year completion timeline of the strategy is its most obvious weak point.

This spring, I started a group called Better Mobility Saanich. BMS is made up of Saanich residents from all over the community. We formed to draw attention to the needs of vulnerable road users – people on foot, bike, scooter, using a mobility device, pushing a stroller, and, in our rural areas, on horseback.

The good news is that council is taking steps to move things along. This year’s budget included funding to accelerate active transportation improvements. These improvements will bring sidewalks and bike lanes to more Saanich neighbourhoods and create safe, comfortable and convenient travelling spaces for all road users.

Better travelling spaces like the just-completed upgrades to Larchwood Drive in Gordon Head are a great example. The Larchwood upgrade repurposed road space to make it easier for all travellers to access parks, schools, shops and transit.

We appreciate council’s support for road safety and making life better for all travellers. These improvements are so beneficial and badly needed. Saanich residents can’t wait another 30 years.

Interested in joining Better Mobility Saanich? Visit our Facebook group better mobility or send an email to info@deanmurdock.ca

Dean Murdock

Saanich