A two-vehicle crash in the 4000-block of Prospect Lake Road closed the road for several hours late Monday night. Area residents have long warned about the road’s safety. (Photo from Caroline Usher Sousa/Facebook)

A two-vehicle crash in the 4000-block of Prospect Lake Road closed the road for several hours late Monday night. Area residents have long warned about the road’s safety. (Photo from Caroline Usher Sousa/Facebook)

Head-on collision in Saanich draws attention to rural road safety

Saanich says additional road safety measures are already planned or underway

A collision on Saanich’s Prospect Lake Road that sent two drivers to hospital has once again drawn attention to rural traffic safety.

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The collision closed Prospect Lake Road between Munn Road and Woodsend Drive for more than six hours between 9:50 p.m. Monday and 4:15 a.m Tuesday.

A 24-year-old male driving a Nissan remains in hospital in serious but stable condition. A 60-year-old woman driving a Ford has since left hospital.

The site of Monday’s collision near the corner of Munn Road and Prospect Lake Road has been the site of at least one serious collision in the last two years.

Area residents have drawn the municipality’s attention to the area through groups such as Livable Roads for Rural Saanich (LRRS).

RELATED: Groups wants Saanich to improve rural roads

RELATED: Outside traffic threatens safety of rural Saanich

In June 2018, the public heard from the group that several rural roads in the northwestern corner of Saanich, including Prospect Lake Road, were never designed to handle the speed, volume or size of traffic currently seen.

The roads share several similarities, including a lack of shoulders, blind corners and a lack of space – a combination that has led to conflicts between local residents and out-of-area motorists.

Specifically, the public heard that these roads have become increasingly unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians, due to out-of-area traffic from communities on the West Shore and the Saanich Peninsula.

“Increasing volumes of traffic are driving at unsafe speeds, often recklessly and aggressively,” said Deborah Tubman, while speaking about Prospect Lake Road at the time. “Vehicles do not drive to suit the road, which is narrow, winding, with blind corners and hills, no shoulders, and rocky outcroppings.”

Kelsie McLeod, a spokesperson for the District of Saanich, said the municipality is working on a number of projects to improve road safety. Key among them is a full upgrade of the intersection at West Saanich, Prospect Lake and Sparton roads. Saanich is currently looking for a consultant to complete conceptual designs, with construction tentatively scheduled to start this fall.

“Sidewalk improvements along the northern section of Prospect Lake Road near [Prospect Lake Elementary School] have been identified as an immediate priority and will be completed as part of the Prospect Lake and Sparton Road intersection improvement project,” she said.

While plans for Prospect Lake Road call for improvements benefiting cyclists, they are not part of Saanich’s priorities for the next 10 years, said McLeod. “It’s also important to note that traffic volumes are quite low in this area of Saanich,” she said.

Staff, she said, have met with LRRS four times since June 2017, and will include traffic calming measures as part of planned projects including the Prospect Lake and Sparton Road intersection improvement project.

“Additionally, a pilot of neighbourhood entry signs is underway in consultation with [LRSS],” she said.

“Signs have been placed along roadways leading into [rural] neighbourhoods reminding drivers to slow down and respect the nature of these streets,” she said.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

District of Saanich