Plan promises to ease congestion along Uptown corridor

Proposed concepts include redirecting traffic off Blanshard

A host of conceptual ideas have emerged in Saanich’s review of the Uptown Douglas Corridor.

A host of conceptual ideas have emerged in Saanich’s review of the Uptown Douglas Corridor.

With 130,000 people commuting through the Uptown Douglas Corridor every day, there is no busier hub in Saanich.

Creating a redesigned transportation plan for the corridor is paramount to the future, as cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians make their way through the Saanich spiderweb that links Victoria’s downtown with the West Shore and the Peninsula.

Which is why Saanich Planning is now eight months into an all-encompassing community consultation campaign. The planning team is starting to consolidate community feedback in preparation for a draft write-up of the Uptown Douglas Corridor plan.

“This is where the process starts to get exciting, as we move beyond concepts to a vision,” says Cam Scott, Saanich manager of community planning.

Public sessions started last year but are slowing down. Last weekend there were three Saanich-hosted community presentations, following the Jan. 19 Saanich Talks event at Uptown.

“There were some really good ideas expressed by the community and a good discussion on the future of what could happen,” Scott said. “We want to inspire new ideas, provide a basis for conversation, providing broader context and putting new ideas out there to help seed discussions.”

There are no shortage of ideas for the area. Many have called for a pedestrian overpass that crosses Blanchard Street between Uptown and Saanich Plaza (Boston Pizza/Save-On-Foods). Another option is for an intersection there. While another long-term  proposal is to redirect through traffic off of Blanshard and onto a two-way Vernon Avenue. Softened traffic off Blanshard would slow down the constant traffic on Uptown’s chaotic eastern side and allow for a more walkable, bikeable village centre.

Whatever the plan, they’re only concepts for now.

When it’s ready, the official Uptown Douglas Corridor plan will be a long-term, 20 to 30-year guide that starts with a draft. Once ready, the draft will go back to the public for another round of consultation before eventually being submitted for debate at Saanich council.

“We came out of [the past weekend] with a good idea of the core concepts for the coming proposal,” Scott said. “It’s our intention to create a summary presentation by the end of this week.”

Visit saanich.ca for updates on the Uptown Douglas Corridor plan.