Curby Klaibert, a spokesperson for the Saanich and Oak Bay Community Safety Network, says a traffic circle would improve safety at the intersection of Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road at the border between Saanich and Oak Bay. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Problem intersection could send Cadboro Bay traffic in circles

Group calls for traffic circle on Cadboro Bay Road at Beach Drive

Cadboro Bay residents are urging municipal and provincial authorities to improve a “problematic and dangerous” intersection at the border between Saanich and Oak Bay.

The intersection is at the corner of Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road, which resembles the letter Y. But this hardly describes its complexities.

Drivers on Beach Drive heading northbound towards Saanich approach the intersection on an incline. Drivers on Cadboro Road, meanwhile, heading in the same direction are coming down a decline at an angle as they approach the intersection where Beach Drive turns into Cadboro Bay Road.

This means drivers on Beach Drive will have to look over their left shoulder before entering Cadboro Road northbound. If they were to turn left onto Cadboro Road, they would enter traffic heading uphill.

While a stop sign on Beach Drive controls traffic entering Cadboro Bay Road, the system is hardly perfect, says Curby Klaibert, a spokesperson for the Saanich and Oak Bay Community Safety Network, a group pushing for improvements. Road users of various kinds routinely ignore the stop sign, and the intersection has seen its fair share of collisions, he said.

Notably, the roads meet near Hibbons Close, a small but vital road that guides users into a residential neighbourhood and towards the only access to the south end of Cadboro Bay beach. The corner of Hibbons Close and Cadboro Bay Road also has issues, including an absence of appropriate sidewalks and items that could obscure sight-lines (a fire hydrant, tall trees and hedges).

Finally, BC Transit maintains two bus stops near the intersection on either side of Cadboro Bay Road. But the intersection lacks a crosswalk that would allow locals to safely cross the road. Worse, transit users, who want to access the bus stop on the eastern side of Cadboro Bay Road, have to walk on the road in the absence of a sidewalk, said Klaibert, a point other residents have also made.

Klaibert’s group is pushing for at least three improvements.

First, they would like to see a traffic circle at the intersection of Beach Drive and Cadboro Bay Road.

Traffic circles are circular intersections where drivers travel counterclockwise around a centre island. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.

They have a reputation for calming traffic without slowing it down and enjoy widespread popularity in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom.

Saanich and Oak Bay first heard the idea in 1996 when Ramsay Murray, a trained traffic engineer, presented the idea to their respective councils.

Murray, who continues to live in the area, recently described its various safety issues in a letter to Saanich News.)

“Here we are 22 years later, and we are still faced with inaction of both municipalities,” said Klaibert, adding both two municipalities could split costs.

Second, they say the intersection needs a crosswalk that pedestrians can activate. Third, Saanich should improve pedestrian safety on the east side of Cadboro Bay Road from Hibbens Close to Killarney Road with an interim sidewalk made out of wood chips until a permanent solution can be found.

With a municipal election looming, the group hopes to get the attention of officials, having invited elected officials from Saanich and Oak Bay, as well as BC Transit, to a tour of the neighbourhood scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 9.

Megan Catalano, a Saanich spokesperson, said staff have been working with Oak Bay and local residents to discuss concerns. While Saanich’s Active Transportation Plan identifies Cadboro Bay Road as a medium priority, staff are looking at temporary options to improve safety.

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