Traffic turns on to Interurban Road from Wilkinson Road at the five-way intersection where Interurban

Traffic turns on to Interurban Road from Wilkinson Road at the five-way intersection where Interurban


Read what the Saanich mayor and council candidates say they would do to reduce single-occupancy vehicles

How do you propose to quickly alleviate some of the stresses caused by single-occupancy vehicles, which turns many of our major thoroughfares into parking lots at rush hour?


David Cubberley, mayoral candidate:

“Part of the problem is it’s not easy to access the resources to improve transit service, which is desperately needed. This is where the commission is too conservative in asking to gain access to existing fuel tax revenues. There are very few solutions that only involve Saanich. The improvements we need, not just in transit, but in transportation planning, must allow us to look at the whole transportation system and set up a list of priority projects. We have to see transit and transportation improvements proceed in tandem at a regional level. The best way, in the short-term, we can hope for by way of transit improvements is dedicated rights of way on the Trans-Canada Highway. And we’ll have to wrestle with the problem at McKenzie and the Trans-Canada – that congestion is what’s causing the whole west-side congestion to plug. Students are primarily going to classes at the end of peak-hour service, and as a result there are a lot of students being passed by full buses. Students are feeling they can’t rely on transit. We have to find ways to bolster transit service on major corridors in the shoulder-peak times, the student-peak times. We need all the existing resources being thrown at peak hours, but we also need more to support and improve the shoulder-peak hours.”


Frank Leonard, mayoral candidate:

“The step to take is to convince colleagues to support a regional transportation authority to do regional transportation planning. A lot of the volume is coming from the Western Communities and the Peninsula, and that’s leading to regional traffic issues. We need more significant attention paid to regional transportation planning and infrastructure – that is a realistic goal to achieve in the next term. Bus service, especially on McKenzie, needs to start sooner than Saanich Road. Most routes don’t carry passengers on Carey, Glanford or Burnside. I’ve always thought that we’re lacking east-west service, so in the short-term we can have some of he UVic-destined routes used Cedar Hill X Road. We’re putting more buses in the traffic jams on McKenzie, but there are two roads in Saanich going to UVic. Why aren’t we using both of them? And in some places we’ve got enough right-of-way to have HOV or transit lanes, in some areas we don’t. We can certainly put that on the agenda, start discussing it, start planning for it.”


Susan Brice, council candidate:

“I do think that we will have to look at considering dedicated bus lanes. Obviously McKenzie is a natural choice. The way to encourage more people into transit is for them to be able to see buses moving more quickly than they can in their individual automobiles. The challenge is how to increase service as a result without it all falling to the local taxpayer. At the transit commission, I have personally had to really dig down deep and support a budget that was higher than I felt comfortable with, but the greater societal need to fund that additional service outweighed the significant increase. When the case is made that this is what it’s going to cost to keep these buses and services going, that’s very compelling.”


Judy Brownoff, council candidate:

“Hopefully through the development of a regional transportation plan, we will be able to identify regional roads, and that’ll open up some regional funding formula to pay for road maintenance and upgrades. Do you build a bigger road just for rush house? I don’t think you do. People have to recognize that congestion is caused by all of us. Unless we all make conscientious decisions not to use our car one or two days a week, we all have to take responsibility. My priority would be making sure we have enough transit service on the road in rush hour.”


Vic Derman, council candidate:

“We need to develop a regional strategy in terms of how we address things like parking – right now there’s really no disincentive to use their vehicle. We need to find ways to create incentives to not use single-occupancy vehicles. If you arrive at your destination as a group, maybe you get free parking, and if you arrive by single occupancy, maybe the price to park doubles or triples or quadruples. In one term, we need to be setting policies that encourage a change and discourage staying the way we are going.”


Paul Gerrard, council candidate:

“It may be radical, but if there was a way to charge the single-occupancy vehicles to come into the city. Tax those vehicles to use that road. The one way to get people out of their cars is hit them in the pocketbook. A few years ago I really thought we should have an interchange at Trans-Canada and McKenzie. It cannot only be transit, it cannot only be LRT. The reality is people will still use their cars, some people still have to be on the road. If we give as many disincentives to people to use their cars, that’s the only way we’ll achieve our goals.”


Ingrid Ip, council candidate:

“We need to have more direct bus routes where people don’t have to get off a bus, wait, and get on another bus. As soon as you’re changing buses, it detracts people. I mostly drive, but I feel that I need to subsidize transit because transit is something that has to happen, and it has to bew affordable. It makes it easier on the roads. And buying a bus pass should be a little less expensive than it is.”


Dean Murdock, council candidate:

“We have to do what we can to promote alternatives to get people out of the single occupancy vehicle, into carpools having multiple commuters per vehicle. We need to do service improvements for transit on existing routes because the people who are being passed up by buses are not likely to continue to ride the bus if they can’t catch it – they’ll be getting into their cars. And at places like McKenzie/Borden, where it meets the Lochside Trail, we need to change some of the access points for pedestrians and cyclists, giving them points of access – a pedestrian overpass or a pedestrian scramble – because that intersection is recking havoc on traffic.”


Vicki Sanders, council candidate:

“The biggest thing, without a whole restructuring of our infrastructure, is getting a full education program going where people become better informed on carpooling and car-sharing route. Finding out who lives in the same neighbourhoods and promoting carpool vans or car shares – it’ll all come down to education. Then you can share the cost of the gas and people see the benefits of that.”


Nichola Wade, council candidate:

“There is no one answer. The answer is increased use of transit, increased use of other green mobility options like carpool, cycling, walking. You have to  dedicate lanes to high-occupancy vehicles and minimize the number of single occupancy vehicles by providing carpool parking, and having development incentives to do so. It has to be a multitude of initiatives that are undertaken at once. As long as you’re part of the problems you’re not part of the solutions. And right now there’s a lot of people contributing to the problems.”


Leif Wergeland, council candidate:

“Telling people they can’t drive on a road, over time they might find it easier when they see pedestrians and bikes going past them. I think we need to be able to say it’s faster if you take alternative transportation. There are opportunities where we can have a rapid transit lane or a high-occupancy vehicle lane, perhaps between certain hours of the day. Everyone goes to work at 8:30, 9 o’clock and goes home around the same time – businesses might want to adjust their working hours so it’s easier to travel to and from.”


Rob Wickson:

“Not a lot’s going to be done in the short-term. We need to start developing the questions that need to be asked: what are the most efficient ways of moving people to and from their destinations? Who’s going where? How are they getting there today? We don’t have that information on the table right now, so we can’t make good decisions. If we can change peoples’ behaviour, instead of your free parking spot at work being paid for by your employer, we now charge you $100 a month to use it. But the employer has to say, ‘Here’s that $100. You can decide if you want to use it to buy a bicycle, or a bus pass, or use it to pay for the parking spot.’”


Harald Wolf, council candidate:

“Nobody is saying: ‘What is it that we really need?’ We have to have a vision of a new Saanich, where we want to go. I’m going to strive to make Saanich a city – it’s ludicrous that we seem to have no ambition to be anything but a bedroom community to Victoria. Once we have a vision, we can take it to the development community to make it happen. Right now they’re the ones driving development. Politicians have a role to put the vision in place that says, ‘All these condos are not supplying the housing that we need for the type of people that we want to live, work, play and recreate in this community.’”


*Candidates Jesse McClinton and David Shebib did not return requests for comment.

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