Residents near the McKenzie interchange project hope Saanich council and staff will work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to improve traffic safety in the area in calling for traffic calming measures.
“We don’t want to see anybody hurt,” said George Blogg, a Skeena Place resident, who is also president of the Portage Inlet Sanctuary Colquitz Estuary Society, in an interview after he and area residents spoke before council Monday night.
Central to their concern is the closure of Portage Road as part of the $85 million project designed to improve traffic flow between the core communities of the Greater Victoria area and its suburbs.
Blogg said the closure of Portage Road near the intersection with Admirals Road in the wake of the construction has created an unsafe situation for motorists and cyclists. “This action has placed all users on Admirals Road and Admirals Bridge in danger,” he told council Monday.
Residents who wish to access Portage Road off Highway 1 must travel down Admirals Road, then turn up hill onto Esson Road.
“The turn of well over 90 degrees from Admirals [Road] and then uphill to Esson [Road] is especially dangerous for cyclists,” said Norman Bruce, a Skeena Place resident.
Cyclists must perform this turn, all while signalling and slowing down as they come down Admirals Road, said Bruce.
Cars travelling along Admirals Road, meanwhile, naturally accelerate as they come down the hill.
“This makes it even more difficult and dangerous as they [cyclists] are trying to stick out their arms and break at the same time now that the entry at Portage Road is blocked off,” he said.
Cars turning off Admirals Road onto Esson often cut across the bike lane running down the right-hand side of Admirals, thereby endangering cyclists or other drivers, said Blogg.
As for traffic heading up Admirals Road, it has to stop in the middle traffic to let the cyclists pass across the entrance of Esson Road, said Bruce.
Blogg as well as other area residents plan to make a more detailed presentation to council next week. He said the presentation will describe their concerns in additional details and present possible solutions to calm traffic on Admirals Road, a major thoroughfare for private and commercial traffic, including heavy trucks.
“The current design has not incorporated the necessary traffic calming measures,” he said.
Blogg, who has lived in the area for decades, said traffic calming measures are long overdue and hopes Monday’s presentation will compensate for previous failures to address the issues.
“We are not trying to point fingers. We are trying to look for solutions,” said Blogg, adding that he has already had positive discussions with Saanich councillors following Monday’s presentation.
“The province is offering Saanich the chance to improve the safety of this short but dangerous stretch of road at no cost to Saanich taxpayers,” said Bruce. “Please don’t miss this chance while the province still has this offer on the table.”