The walk to school is offering a textbook example on dealing with city hall for one first-year political science student at Camosun College.
The 40-minute trek from Elanor Teel’s Savannah Avenue home to Camosun’s Lansdowne campus hits a snag when she reaches the intersection of Doncaster Drive and Cedar Hill Road.
“I walk to school almost everyday and when I get to that intersection I always have to wait,” said Teel. “It’s getting increasingly frustrating because I want to get to class and I’m always a little bit late.”
Teel said she almost always has to wait a couple minutes for a break in traffic in order to cross Cedar Hill.
“I just think it’s an ideal place for a crosswalk because on either side of Cedar Hill are bus stops. So if somebody wants to cross to take the bus they have to wait. It doesn’t really encourage green travel,” said Teel, adding Wetherby Park is also located at that intersection.
She said the nearest crosswalk is a five to 10-minute walk down Cedar Hill to Finlayson, and she often sees seniors and schoolchildren darting across the road to avoid the extra travel. The nearby Cedar Hill Golf Course also brings an increase in foot traffic to the area.
“It wasn’t the density of cars but they just keep coming. I timed it one morning and it was two minutes and I thought this is ridiculous,” she said. “Often I think I can make it and end up booking it across the intersection. It’s not the safest.”
Teel brought her complaint to the District of Saanich, which is now reviewing the situation.
“With a request like this our standard is the Provincial Pedestrian Crossing Control Manuel, which sets guidelines and standards on where a new crosswalk would go,” said Harley Machielse, Saanich director of engineering.
He said the review would look at the distance to the nearest crosswalk, pedestrian and traffic volumes, sight lines and the general layout of the road. The fact there is bend in Cedar Hill when it reaches Doncaster would definitely play a part in the decision.
“We don’t want to be putting a crosswalk in a potentially unsafe area because it inherently makes a pedestrian feel safer cause there’s a crosswalk there,” he said. “It could be a situation because of the geometry of the road that doesn’t make it safer.”
While the crosswalk could be moved 50 metres to avoid the bend in the road, Machielse isn’t sure that would make a difference. “Some of the challenges with that is pedestrians, even 50 metres away, will look at that and say ‘I’m just going to take my chances and cross here anyway’.”
He said district crews would review the situation over the next few weeks.
“We also look at whether a crosswalk is actually the issue. There could be other issues at play. There’s also no sidewalk on the other side of Cedar Hill, that could maybe be more of an issue than the need to cross the road,” said Machielse.
If the district determines the area is suitable for a sidewalk, he said staff will then attempt to determine if traffic and pedestrian volumes warrant one.
“Sometimes we have enough data we’ve collected that we can answer the question quickly.”
If the district currently does not have the data for that section of Cedar Hill, a traffic count would be set up for sometime later this spring.
“As part of the traffic volumes, they’ll also measure the gaps in traffic. So if you have a street where you have constant traffic with no gaps that actually plays a factor in it,” he said.
In the meantime, Teel believes people’s safety could be in jeopardy.
“I see kids and older people there and that just makes me worry. I’m a little bit kamikaze but I’m safe and I don’t want anything to happen to anyone else.”