Cyclists share the road with vehicles along the Shelbourne Road corridor in Saanich. Surveys show residents would like to see the road widened

Saanich residents call for wider Shelbourne Street

Thumbs-up for bike lanes, but not at expense of traffic flow

If consensus created the most viable results, big changes would come to Shelbourne Street.

Instead of a narrow four-lane road, with pencil-thin sidewalks on either side, most Saanichites would prefer four lanes for vehicles plus wide sidewalks, bike lanes and grassed buffers.

The widened road – increasing from its current 20-metre right of way to 26 metres – would require Saanich to make big investments, buying street frontage along kilometres of Shelbourne to make that dream a reality.

But until it can do that, a friendlier corridor will remain a dream deferred for the foreseeable future.

“We’re not going to be able to satisfy everything that everybody wants,” said Harold Stanley, a Saanich planner who’s taken the lead on the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan. “The crux of the whole thing is trying to incorporate the different forms of transportation into the narrow right of way.”

The plan has set out to create a 25-year vision for the four-kilometre stretch of Shelbourne Street north of Hillside Centre.

Of the 334 people who gave feedback online and at open houses late last year, the majority supported keeping the street four lanes for vehicles, with the majority preferring a wider road for bikes and better sidewalks.

To widen the street, Saanich would need to purchase land from property owners along Shelbourne, which could take years. It would be a willing seller, willing buyer process.

“When we identify several homes that we would like to convert to either park or road, we don’t go down the street and simply force the purchase,” Mayor Frank Leonard said in an interview earlier this year. “We approach the homeowners and say ‘If and when you’d like to sell, we’d like to be the first in line.’”

In the meantime, Stanley points to positive feedback on creating a north-south “greenway” using designated side streets as a cycling thoroughfare, similar to what is seen in Vancouver.

“Obviously the cyclists would prefer to have bike lanes or a cycle track with buffers on Shelbourne, but based on how we would probably get that, with redevelopments, it’s going to take quite a long time,” Stanley said.

Also covered in the Action Plan survey are questions about building height and development setbacks in the targeted urban centres. Saanich aims to create a dense urban core at Feltham Road, McKenzie Avenue, Cedar Hill X Road, and near Hillside Centre.

“We’re trying to densify the villages and centres in the valley,” Stanley said. “People would hopefully spend more time in each centre with regards to getting everyday goods and services, as well as employment opportunities. Density cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions – people don’t have to travel far, so we’re trying to incorporate transit, cycling, walking into the valley as much as possible.”

Stakeholder meetings on the Action Plan are continuing, but Stanley hopes to have a completed draft plan presented to the public in the coming months. Once more feedback is received, he hopes the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan will be before Saanich council in the late fall.

“We heard quite loud and clear when we started off on this plan that the status quo is not working (along Shelbourne Street),” Stanley said. “If we don’t do something to fix it now, the issues and problems –  bad architecture, traffic issues, the lack of infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians – will probably get worse. We have to get something done now to address all these issues.”

To see the survey or to view the plan so far, visit saanich.ca/business/actionplan/shelbourne.html.

 

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Three Saanich councillors ask for $2-M investment into District road safety

‘I don’t want roads to be safer in 30 years, I want them safer now,’ says Coun. Ned Taylor

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

BC Ferries hybrid ships arrive in Victoria on Saturday

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

‘We thought it was an earthquake,’ homeowners okay after tree falls

Mature tree falls on roof of Victoria Avenue house

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read