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Residents’ road safety group pushes Saanich for improvements on Sayward Road

Vehicle speeds, lack of pedestrian infrastructure pose dangers to all: spokesperson
Cordova Bay residents living on and around Sayward and Fowler roads formed a safety advocacy group to pressure Saanich to take action in the area. The group recently hosted Mayor Fred Haynes on a walkabout to show him areas in need of immediate improvements. (Photo courtesy of Vina Maldoveanu)

Road safety concerns in a Cordova Bay neighbourhood has led to the formation of an advocacy group called Residents for Sayward and Fowler Road Safety.

The volume of traffic and the number of speeding vehicles have increased substantially over the years, said spokesperson Vina Moldoveanu, who took Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes on a tour of the area recently to show him the most dangerous parts of the corridor.

Sayward serves as a connection from the Pat Bay Highway to carry goods and services to Cordova Bay area. However, it lacks the infrastructure to support the safety of area residents, Moldoveanu said.

“The lack of crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes make the roads unsafe for all,” she added. “Children walking to their school bus are required to walk a narrow dirt shoulder sandwiched between a ditch and oncoming heavy vehicle traffic – this stretch is in desperate need of a sidewalk.”

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While Moldoveanu said she understands infrastructure improvements take time, she suggested lowering the speed limit from 50 kilometres per hour to 40 km/h would be the best immediate solution.

“Another issue of grave concern is the dump trucks losing debris from their loads. Several residents have had near misses with these flying boulders – one resident in the group had his car struck while driving his son to school.”

With the Sayward and Fowler stretch is designated a major road by Saanich, the advocacy group is asking the district to reduce the speed immediately, add safety signs and prioritize infrastructure improvements.

Saanich’s active transportation plan is set to address the sidewalks and cycling facilities over the long term in the area and areas around Cordova Bay Elementary School will be prioritized, Haynes said.

“It was a very good meeting with this group and we spent quite a bit of time talking about processes, issues and their lived experiences,” he added. “We have speed reader boards on this road and we are collecting police and traffic engineer data – there is a range of issues at play and I’ll be going back with the chief of police to have another look at the area to find solutions.”