Changing the way you move around town

AT ISSUE: TRAFFIC CONGESTION – 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?

It’s no secret there are a number of roads in Saanich you’re best to avoid come rush hour. McKenzie Avenue backs up for blocks from the Trans-Canada Highway, and the notorious five-way intersection at Wilkinson and Interurban roads is the closest thing to gridlock in Greater Victoria outside of the Colwood Crawl.

While long-term transportation planning will involve some costly upgrades, Saanich’s council candidates acknowledge changes must be made in the short-term to get people out of single-occupancy vehicles.

“We need more significant attention paid to regional transportation planning and infrastructure,” said incumbent Mayor Frank Leonard. “That is a realistic goal to achieve in the next term.”

Challenger David Cubberley agrees, saying that cut-through driving from other municipalities is resulting in a lot – but not all – of the growing traffic issues.

“We have to see transit and transportation improvements proceed in tandem at a regional level,” he said.

Both mayoral candidates say the quickest way to deal with the issues is by improving transit service.

They say the post-secondary institutions in Saanich (the University of Victoria and the two Camosun College campuses) are major traffic generators, as well as downtown Victoria and the Esquimalt naval base. More buses should be put on the routes servicing these areas.

“There are a lot of students being passed by full buses – students are feeling they can’t rely on transit,” Cubberley said. He criticizes the Victoria Regional Transit Commission for being “too conservative” in not adequately finding the resources to improve the service.

Leonard says the east-west transit network is lacking, and routes that travel along McKenzie should start using Cedar Hill X Road instead.

“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?” he said. He added that more east-west buses should serve areas along Glanford Avenue and Carey Road.

Cubberley also suggests dedicated lanes on the highway for transit or higher-occupancy vehicles. That idea is supported by council candidates Susan Brice, Dean Murdock and Leif Wergeland, all incumbents.

“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,” Brice said.

Incumbent councillors Vic Derman and Paul Gerrard, as well as Rob Wickson, say offering incentives for high-occupancy vehicles and disincentives for single-occupancy vehicles could help reduce congestion.

Such options as higher parking rates for single-occupant cars or charging drivers as they come into Victoria are among the ideas.

“Tax those vehicles to use that road,” Gerrard said. “The one way to get people out of their cars is hit them in the pocketbook.”

Judy Brownoff and Vicki Sanders, both incumbents, as well as Ingrid Ip say improved transit service and promoting carpooling is the way to go.

“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 (and opt for an alternative), we all have to take responsibility,” Brownoff said.

Nichola Wade said “there is no one answer,” and dedicated lanes, long-term planning and creating incentives for high occupancy vehicles must be solutions offered concurrently.

“As long as you’re part of the problems you’re not part of the solutions,” she said. “And right now there’s a lot of people contributing to the problems.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

••••••••••

Get more from your candidates

We asked all the candidates how they would tackle traffic congestion in the short-term. Check out their full comments here.

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Barriers to rental housing brought on by no-pet rules add stress to renters, says councillor. (Pixabay)
Saanich councillor wants to remove barriers to housing for pet owners

Motion calling for province to amend lease stipulations against pet ownership defeated in 5-4 vote

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read