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Pat Bay industrial traffic putting pedestrians in peril, Saanich resident says

Pedestrian-activated crosswalk at Sayward and Alderley roads among solutions offered
Residents are concerned for pedestrian safety around the intersection of Sayward and Alderley roads in Saanich, an area frequented by heavy industrial vehicles. (Photo courtesy of Vina Moldoveanu)

While many roadway improvements have been made in Saanich in recent years – there are areas that could use further improvements, according to Better Mobility Saanich members Vina Moldoveanu and Dean Murdock.

Specifically, Moldoveanu is concerned about heavy truck traffic at the intersection of Sayward and Alderley roads, as well as where Sayward meets the Pat Bay Highway nearby.

“The intersection at Sayward and Alderley is an area that poses a significant risk to pedestrians and cyclists,” she said. “It is also well used by students crossing to catch their school bus. It desperately needs a four-way stop or a pedestrian crosswalk.”

Children must be wary of large industrial vehicles and other traffic travelling in both directions, Moldoveanu said. One neighbourhood child she knows told her as long as he runs really fast he can make it, but it’s really scary.

She also knows seniors who find it very difficult to have enough time to make the crossing before more traffic comes along.

The Pat Bay and Sayward intersection is notoriously dangerous, she said, and has been noted by the province, which has done a number of upgrades in recent years.

“The problem is, they never changed the pattern of the lights, as simple as that is. It is in desperate need of an advance green,” she said, referring to traffic coming off Sayward. She added that motorists race to catch the short-lived green light and drive too quickly overall.

Moldoveanu would like to see the speed limit through the Sayward and Alderley intersection be reduced from 50 to 40 kilometres per hour.

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Murdock is also concerned about the effect of flow-through traffic coming from or heading toward the highway.

“The product of that highway traffic is that people move at really high speeds through that area as they’re coming off the highway,” he said. A pedestrian-controlled crossing light might be the solution for particularly vulnerable populations, such as students and seniors.

Many people feel nervous walking or using active transportation in these areas, so they’ll opt to drive instead, he said.

“These roads were never really designed to carry that kind of traffic, both in volume and in weight,” Murdock said. “Improvements need to be made so people can use and share these roadways safely.”

The former Saanich council member said he’s heard from enough Cordova Bay residents to indicate this is a major area of concern.

“It can’t be treated like a highway if residents are to feel safe and happily enjoy the roadways near their homes – both in their cars, on their bikes, or on foot.”

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