A group of Cadboro Bay residents are asking Saanich to improve Sinclair Road.
Please Upgrade Sinclair Hill (PUSH) appeared before council Monday to re-focus attention on the road.
“Sinclair Road and Cadboro Bay Road are the two main roads into Cadboro Bay,” said Eric Dahli, president of Cadboro Bay Residents Association and PUSH member, in an interview Sunday. “Sinclair [Road] and Cadboro Bay Road are the only two truck routes into Cadboro Bay. The [University of Victoria] is at the top of the road. It is a gateway into the park [Cadboro Gyro Park] and there is more and more housing up going up on the hill.”
The timing to raise these issues could perhaps not be better as Saanich has recently launched an update of the local area plan. It is the first update since 2002 and Dahli said the start of that process has revived old concerns about the the road.
What will likely strike many users of Sinclair Road first is its view.
As it dips down from the University of Victoria, the road offers a sweeping view of Cadboro Bay. But this view readily distracts from the other dangers that lurk along the road.
As Eric Dahli, president of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association, drives up the road, he points out the state of the sidewalk, or lack thereof, on the side of the road facing northeast.
In some areas, he says, area children attending Frank Hobbs elementary school have to navigate nothing less than what he calls is a “goat trail” as they walk towards school, hardly safe. Elsewhere along the road, pedestrians can walk along sidewalks, but only in selective stretches, where private developers paid for them.
By virtue of its proximity to UVic and one of the premier public beaches in the region, the neighbourhood has seen an increase in development. Cadboro Heights with its ultra-modern units on the northeastern side of the road speaks to this point. But its only access point — Cadboro Heights Lane — can make for tricky driving. Drivers turning off the road — especially if they are turning left towards the beach — have to be mindful of traffic coming up the road, because the road’s undulating topography creates a blind spot.
A narrow but continuous sidewalk serves pedestrians on the other side of Sinclair Road but appears to be in need of improvements and hardly distinguishes itself from the unpaved swath of surface that serves as on-street parking on the lower end of Sinclair Road as it approaches and intersects Cadboro Bay Road.
That intersection marks the moving heart of the Cadboro Bay Village, an eclectic combination of new condominiums, heritage homes, and businesses that include a grocery store and boutique shops, all within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean and one of the most popular public spaces on southern Vancouver Island — Cadboro Gyro Park.
Not surprisingly, traffic through the four-way intersection can be busy, especially on sunny days, when residents from across the region flock towards the park, and according to Dahli, it is not usual for travellers to experience delay through the intersection, with traffic literally backing its way up Sinclair Road.
His proposed solution? A roundabout (or traffic circle) where Cadboro Bay Road and Sinclar Road intersect. Such a feature already exists at the intersection of Sinclair Road and Finnerty Road.
Sinclair Road has also long drawn the attention of the local cycling community. Its members have long lamented the lack of shoulder along the road among other deficits and Dahli believes improvements to make the road safer for all users have been overdue.
“The local area plan had this as a priority in 2002,” he said. “Sixteen years later, we must be getting fairly close to the top of the list.”